As our nation focuses on what is being called an opioid epidemic, or overuse of painkillers – the question remains: How to assist those with chronic pain.
Advances in pain management have improved tremendously over the last decade and even just the last five years – all bypassing the use of heavy narcotics (opioids) or invasive surgeries.
Chronic pain – especially neck and back pain - is one of the most debilitating problems facing millions of Americans and contributes to more days lost from work than flu, colds and childbirth combined each year.
In this week’s blog, we’ll focus specifically on neck and back pain and Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) – a procedure offered by pain management specialists at NorthStar Surgical Center.
What is an ESI?
An ESI is a technique in which corticosteroids and a local anesthetic are injected into the epidural space around the spinal cord in an effort to improve spinal stenosis, spinal disc herniation or both. The long acting steroid starts working in about two to five days and its effect can last for several months, depending on the individual.
The procedure is not painful, but is utilized to improve the level of pain for the patient. If the pain is significantly reduced, no further injection is needed unless the pain begins to come back.
Further injections – and at what interval – are left to the discretion of each individual doctor and his or her patient.
What You Need to Know:
You must see your Primary Care Provider to discuss your options of an ESI first. He or she will need to refer you to a pain management specialist if that is the best option for you.
Bottom line: Advances in pain management are growing every year, month and day. We look forward to exploring other pain management topics in future blogs.