Injection Therapy for Neck & Back Pain
Injections can be a great option to help patients manage neck and back pain. The goal of pain management is to help patients avoid surgery unless it is necessary.
Spinal injections can provide longer-lasting relief from pain and inflammation than oral medications. This pain relief may allow patients to more actively participate in physical therapy and exercise, which can work hand-in-hand with pain relief to help patients better manage their conditions.
Dr. Dax Trujillo offers several different types of spinal injections to treat different types of neck and back pain. Learn more about each of these treatment options below.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections may be used to treat chronic neck and back pain caused by conditions like bulging discs, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis.
These injections are administered to the epidural space. The epidural space surrounds the dura, a membrane that covers the nerve roots in the spine. Nerves travel from the spine through the epidural space to the other parts of the body. If a nerve becomes inflamed within the epidural space due to a condition like a herniated disc, bulging disc, or spinal stenosis, pain may travel to the arms, legs, and/or neck, depending on the location of the inflamed nerve. The cortisone steroids administered into the epidural space reduce inflammation, which may lead to an improvement in pain.
When Dr. Trujillo administers an epidural steroid injection, he uses x-ray guidance to ensure correct placement of the needle. Local anesthetic is typically given before the epidural injection to numb the area. A contrast dye may be injected prior to the steroid medication to ensure that the medication will reach the inflamed nerves.
Epidural steroid injections can reduce or relieve pain for several months. In some patients, pain relief lasts even longer.
Trigger Point Injections
Sometimes, the source of back pain may be the muscles, rather than an irritated or compressed nerve. When the muscles are injured or take on too much stress, knots called trigger points can develop. Trigger points are focused areas of muscle spasm, pain, and inflammation. When pressure is applied to the trigger point, pain can radiate to the area surrounding it. The muscle may also twitch in response to pressure on the trigger point. Trigger points can cause muscle spasms, neck pain, back pain, and headaches.
The goal of trigger point injections is to relieve the pain caused by the knot. During this treatment, Dr. Trujillo inserts the needle directly into the trigger point. The injection may contain an anesthetic like lidocaine or bupivacaine, a steroid like cortisone, or a combination of these medications. In some cases, medication may not be injected at all–the insertion of the needle is sufficient in relieving the trigger point. This treatment is called dry needling.
In some cases, multiple injections may be needed to relieve pain caused by a trigger point. However, it is generally not recommended for a patient to receive more than three injections per trigger point, as this may cause scarring and damage to the muscle. Trigger point injections are most effective when combined with a regular physical therapy program.
If neck or back pain is caused by a compressed or pinched nerve, a nerve block may be an effective way to relieve pain. Nerve blocks can numb the nerve roots causing pain.
Patients may be given sedation prior to receiving a nerve block injection. Before administering the nerve block, Dr. Trujillo injects a local anesthetic over the area of pain. Next, he uses x-ray guidance to inject a contrast dye in the area of the painful nerve to determine correct needle placement. Once needle placement is determined, Dr. Trujillo injects a mixture of an anesthetic and a steroid into the nerve root.
The mixture of medications allows patients to experience more immediate pain relief from the anesthetic, and longer pain relief from the steroid due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Nerve blocks work best for patients with a single or small group of nerves causing pain, rather than several areas of pain.
Injection Therapy For Neck & Back Pain In Show Low, AZ
Dr. Dax Trujillo specializes in a variety of pain management options for neck and back pain, including injections. If you have any questions about injection therapy or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Trujillo, please call our office at 928-532-1605.