Epidural Steroid Injections for Leg Pain
Leg pain (also known as radicular pain), numbness and tingling and weakness is most often caused by herniations and bulging in spinal cord discs and bone spurs causing stenosis and nerve impingement.
Pain management often includes anti-inflammatory medications, postural and exercise education and epidural steroid injections (ESI). Early treatment is essential to prevent further damage and reduce the number of epidural steroid injections. An epidural steroid injection in combination with physical therapy plays an important role in treating patients with leg pain.
Treatment of Leg Pain with Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections (ESI) have been used since the 1950s for treatment of pain. Lumbar epidural steroid injections can help most patients with long-term relief of pain due to nerve root irritation and reduce the chances of needing surgery.
Epidural injections are often administered after a trial of conservative medication management, physical therapy and activity modification. Most pain doctors recommend 6 weeks as a reasonable timeframe to try conservative approaches before prescribing epidural steroid injections. This is usually enough time to allow patients to work through a rehabilitation program and improve their level of function and ability to perform daily tasks with little or no pain.
If a patient is suffering from severe leg pain or there are there are neurological signs or symptoms, then starting epidural steroid injections prior to 6 weeks is reasonable and can be helpful in the reduction of leg pain. If the first injection provides partial but significant improvement, then a second injection will be given to help eliminate the remaining leg pain.
Some patient experience substantial response that lasts several days, weeks or months but the pain returns. At that time your leg pain doctor may prescribe another injection. Two weeks or more between epidural injections is the typical recommendation. Additional injections are made in consultation with your doctor.
Epidural Steroid Injections and Physical Therapy
The treatment of leg pain involves a combination of medications, therapies and injections to manage pain and allow patients to return to their daily living and work activities. Physical therapy can also help reduce pain, avoid further injury to the leg and can also reduce time away from work.
If leg pain does not respond to conservative treatment efforts and epidural steroid injections, then surgical intervention may be needed. If surgery is recommended, it will be scheduled by your doctor dependant on the urgency of the situation. Patients with severe pain or weakness in their leg will receive prompt surgical intervention.
If you or a loved one is experiencing leg pain or have questions about surgery, contact us today at 646-862-5555 to schedule an appointment with the best Pain doctor in NYC.