Spinal injections are utilized to deliver medication to a specific area of the back or neck that will assist in reducing or eliminating pain caused by inflammation to the nerves and surrounding joints. Injections may not completely eliminate all severe orthopaedic pain symptoms, be it immediately or permanently, but can serve to significantly aid in pain reduction allowing increased comfort and function with activities of daily living.

The goal of injection therapy is to provide you with enough pain relief from spine problems to help transition from inactivity to physical therapy. With increased mobility, our spine doctors can help you break the pain cycle that has been established through specialized exercises. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory injections can also serve as a diagnostic tool by helping to localize the source of the symptoms.

Lumbar/Cervical Epidural Injections

An epidural steroid injection delivers steroids directly into the epidural space in the spine which is in close proximity to the spinal nerves. Epidural steroid injections deliver medication directly to the source of pain generation. In contrast, oral medications are delivered to the entire body and have a less-focused impact. Typically, a solution containing cortisone (steroid) with local anesthetic (lidocaine or bupivacaine) is used. Additionally, since the vast majority of pain stems from chemical inflammation, an epidural steroid injection can help control local inflammation.

We feel that while the effects of the injection tend to be temporary – providing relief from pain for one week up to one year – an epidural can be very beneficial for a patient during an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. Importantly, an injection can provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative stretching and exercise program. We would encourage you to speak with the physician performing the procedure regarding the risks and benefits.

Facet Injections

Facet joints are small joints at each segment of the spine that provide stability and help guide motion. The facet joints can become painful due to arthritis of the spine, trauma, or mechanical stress to the back.

A cervical, thoracic or lumbar facet joint injection involves injecting a small amount of local anesthetic (numbing agent) and/or steroid medication, which can anesthetize the facet joints and block the pain. The pain relief from a facet joint injection is intended to help a patient better tolerate a physical therapy routine to rehabilitate his or her injury or back condition.

Sacro-Iliac Joint Injection

The sacroiliac joints lie next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip on both sides. There are two sacroiliac joints, one on the right and one on the left. Joint inflammation and/or dysfunction in this area can cause pain.

The purpose of a sacroiliac joint injection is two-fold: to diagnose the source of a patient’s pain, and to provide therapeutic pain relief. A combination of a steroid and local anesthetic is used.

For a printable PDF, download the Cary Orthopaedic Spine Center info sheet on spinal injections.

For more information on how the specialists at Cary Orthopaedics can help you manage your back or neck pain, contact us today for an appointment!

When seeking leading spine specialists in Raleigh, Cary, and surrounding areas, Cary Orthopaedics offers comprehensive neck and back care across the Triangle. Our orthopedic spine center serves patients in Raleigh, Garner, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Clayton, Chapel Hill and Pittsboro.