Intradiscal Steroid Injections
Despite the recent breakthroughs in the understanding or orthopedic physiology and the treatment of back conditions, we are still at a point where we can't reverse the effects of all degenerative conditions. The soft tissues, like the other tissues of the body, do have the capacity of healing themselves, and there are both western medical and alternative therapies than can help to push the injured joints in the direction of healing. Yet the tissues such as the tendons, ligaments, and synovial joints have a poor blood supply, which makes the regeneration of tissue more difficult in the even of injury or wear and tear. In some cases, the injury to joints prompts patients to seek out their doctors for pain relief. Pain relief medications may be available orally, or they may be delivered directly to the affected areas by needle injection. Let's take a closer look at the benefits vs. contraindications of the intradiscal steroid injections.
Intradiscal Steroid Injections is a back pain treatment that may serve as both a diagnostic tool and a back pain treatment. The results of these tests/treatments will tell the doctor if the patient's pain is the result of discogenic pain, and the patient's response to the treatment will tell the doctor how well it worked.
The diagnosis of the patient's back pain may be complicated, because he or she may have one or more generated discs that could point to that condition as the reason for back pain. But the patient could also have other back condition that could also be the cause of back pain, such as weakness in the back muscles, extreme curvatures of the spine (kyphosis and lordosis), or facet arthropathy. Several conditions could be the root cause of pain, though it is likely that only one of the conditions is the main pain generator. Intradiscal Steroid Injections should help their doctors test the hypothesis that the intervertebral disc is actually the main cause of the patient's pain.
Until recently, it was thought that we did not experience back pain directly as a result of degenerative disc disease, because the discs themselves are sparsely supplied with pain sensitive. It was thought that we were more likely to experience pain as a result of how the disc changes affected the other structures of the spine that were heavily supplied with pain sensitive nerves, such as the spinal ligaments, facet joints, or the nerves of the spinal cords and nerve roots themselves. Today, it is understood that the discs themselves are supplied with nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain. This new data tells us that we may experience pain directly as a result to degeneration to the intervertebral discs. This type of direct pain as a result of changes to the disc is known as discogenic pain.
As these degenerative changes to the disc occur, inflammation may occur within the discs themselves. This inflammation may be the primary cause of discogenic pain. Intradiscal Steroid Injections are injections directly into the discs to reduce the inflammation in the disc, thereby providing back pain relief.
Procedure: This treatment protocol involves two visits to the pain clinic or medical clinic. Steroids are injected into the disc in the first visit and anesthetic medication is injected during the second. For both visits, the doctor may use fluoroscopy to get a better view of that area of the spine and a special contrast dye, which is also injected into the disc, to get a precise visualization of the affected structures of the spine.
If the steroid injection works, it will provide pain relief for a period of 2-3 weeks (or longer). If the anesthetic injection treatment works, it will provide lower back pain relief for a period of 2 days or less. These treatments will tell doctors if the patient's pain is the result of discogenic pain.