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Treating Sciatica Pain With an Epidural

June 15, 2021 | Epidural injections

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Nearly everyone experiences back pain at some point in their life, but as many as 40% of the population develops a common (albeit frequently misunderstood) type of back pain known as sciatica. With sciatica, you not only have backaches, but you also have painful symptoms that radiate to other areas of your body.

You can try to push through the pain or mask it with medication, but the only way to truly achieve pain relief is with treatments like epidural injections that address your pain at the source.

Dr. Neel Amin, our double board-certified pain management expert, specializes in using minimally invasive, highly effective epidural injections to treat the causes and symptoms of your sciatica. Here’s everything you should know about sciatica and how epidural injections can help.

A closer look at sciatica pain

Sciatica is a painful condition that gets its name from a nerve in your lower back called your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve branches from your lower back down through your hips, buttocks, and legs.

Herniated discs, bone spurs, tumors, and certain diseases such as diabetes can irritate or pinch your sciatic nerve, which causes significant pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. One of the telltale signs of sciatica pain is one-sided pain that radiates from your lower back to your buttocks and down the back of your leg.

Your symptoms may range from a mild aching sensation to sharp, burning pain. Some experience a painful jolt or shock. Your symptoms may also get worse with coughing, sneezing, or prolonged sitting. Numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling are other warning signs of sciatica pain.

Though there are occasions where mild sciatica resolves on its own, ignoring your symptoms can potentially lead to permanent nerve damage and other complications such as:

  • Loss of feeling in the affected leg
  • Persistent weakness in the affected leg
  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder function

Epidural injections are a key part of sciatica treatment and help you both feel less pain and avoid other problems.

Epidural injections and sciatica pain

Epidural injections involve delivering a small dose of steroid or anesthetic medications into the epidural space of your spine, which surrounds spinal cords and nerve roots.

Once injected, the medication works to reduce inflammation in your spine, releasing pressure on your sciatic nerve and relieving your symptoms. If the injection also contains an anesthetic, the medication dulls pain sensitivity in your nerve fibers, which effectively reduces the number of pain signals your nerves send to your brain, helping you feel better.

Bonus: Epidural injections don’t require downtime, so you can return to your normal routine quickly. Epidural injections also come with few risks and complement other conservative treatments, including physical therapy, which allows you to address your pain in multiple ways.

How to maximize your treatment

Results from epidural injections develop quickly and can last for months. But there are a few things you can do to maximize your injections and avoid sciatica in the future. The best place to start is by identifying and managing your risk factors.

Some of the most common risk factors for sciatica are:

  • Age
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Diabetes

Having an occupation that involves twisting your back or carrying heading objects may also contribute to your likelihood of developing sciatica.

We work with you and guide you towards some practical lifestyle adjustments, such as getting regular exercise, maintaining proper posture, and using good body mechanics to support your back and reduce your risk of future back problems.

If you’d like more information about sciatica and epidural injections, don’t hesitate to contact us. Call our friendly staff or request an appointment online at our East Fort Lauderdale Park, Florida, office.