Although epidural steroid injections (also called epidural corticosteroid injections) may be helpful to confirm a diagnosis, they should be used primarily after a specific presumptive diagnosis has been established. Also, injections should not be used in isolation, but rather in conjunction with a program stressing muscle flexibility, strengthening, and functional restoration.
Proper follow-up after injections to assess the patient's treatment response and ability to progress in the rehabilitation program is essential. A limited number of injections can be tried to reduce pain, but careful monitoring of the response is required prior to a second or third injection.
For many people, back pain goes away on its own or with nonsurgical treatments. Epidural steroid injections shouldn't typically be used as a first-line therapy for back pain relief, but that doesn't mean they can't play a role in treating pain. But injections won't cure the underlying cause of back pain, and they provide only temporary relief. Unfortunately, in many cases, chronic back pain can't be cured, but must instead be managed, like other chronic conditionsand patients must have realistic expectations of what epidurals can do.
How it works: According to Dr. Edwards, stress produces chemicals in the body that increase inflammation. “With relaxation techniques, you have stress reduction and therefore decreased inflammation and less pain,” she says. Meditation also relaxes muscles that tense up with pain. Dr. Edwards suggests meditating for 20 minutes once or twice a day. For moments of acute pain, she also recommends “meditation minutes.” For example, take four to five deep breaths, counting to 10 with each inhalation and exhalation. “Just doing that four to five times a day can decrease depression and improve outlook,” she says.