Injections are an excellent first option and may avoid the need for more involved treatments or surgery. I have performed thousands of spine injections and am very experienced in delivering these comfortably and accurately so you have the best chance of pain relief and speedy recovery.
I recommend you read the comments from my patients of their experience under my care.
There are different types of spine injection. The injection I recommend will depend on your spinal problem and we will discuss what is best for you:
Facet Joint Injections – these injections are aimed at settling persistent pain arising from the facet joints. The facet joints are small joints at the back of your spine which can cause pain if they become inflamed and worn (arthritic).
Nerve Root Block – these injections aim to resolve pain coming from your pinched nerve. The term ‘Block’ is really a misnomer as your nerve will continue to work normally.
Transforaminal Epidural Injection – in this situation, we may be trying to target a particular nerve or area of the spine where we believe your pain is arising.
Caudal Epidural Injection – this is a single injection at the bottom of the spine. I may suggest this for back pain when I’m not quite sure where your pain is arising and I want to treat multiple areas. Think of it as a ‘treat all’ type of fix.
I use injections very successfully to treat a variety of spinal problems including Slipped Discs, Spinal Stenosis, Back Pain, Sciatica, Neck Pain, Arthritis.
Injections use a strong anti-inflammatory (steroid) to reduce pain, redness, and swelling allowing natural healing and recovery.
I may also use injections to help work out (diagnose) where your pain is coming from. For example if your back pain was relieved by injecting your facet joints this would indicate that your pain was coming from the facet joints rather than somewhere else. We can then target the facet joints with more specific physical therapy or other treatments (Rhizolysis or denervation) to resolve the problem.
In experienced hands, injections only take about 5 minutes with minimal discomfort.
I use very fine needles to reach the spine. Most injections use a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid.
We can give you sedation if you are especially anxious but this is rarely necessary.
I take live pictures during the procedure to get the needles in the correct place. This makes the injections more comfortable, more accurate, and more effective.
In our experience injections can work fantastically well in some people, but in others may not work or last. It may be tricky for a specialist to predict who will do best.
Overall I would say that 50% of patients are completely better following one injection and require nothing further.
Successful injections can allow you to get back to doing exercise and physical therapy and this helps you to make a natural recovery.
I can think of numerous occasions where surgery has been avoided by injections with a full recovery.
Although a spine injection may sound a little scary, it is in fact a very simple and safe procedure to perform.
However nothing in life is risk free and there is a tiny chance of having a problem. In our experience, less than one patient in a thousand is at risk of developing either an infection, headache, nerve injury, reaction to the drug, worse pain.
Thankfully most problems are readily treatable and I am here to look after you at all times.
An important benefit of spinal injections is that you will be able to walk around and go home within one hour of the procedure.
Due to the local anaesthetic you may have a slightly wobbly leg after an injection which is quite normal. This occasionally lasts for up to 24 hours and is nothing to worry about.
You can return to all activities including work, exercise and physical therapy the day after the injection.
Hopefully you will notice an immediate improvement in your pain but it can take several weeks for the anti-inflammatory to really work.
I will see back in the clinic six weeks after the injection to check on your progress. But I am also available at any time if you need advice or support.
Occasionally it may be helpful to repeat an injection, to settle a problem once and for all.
I recommend you read the comments from my patients of their experience of spinal injections under my care.