Epidural Steroid Injection?
These can be a great treatment for some patients. I probably refer about 3% of patients for these. Most doctors send many more patients for injections than I do, because they don’t have an effective alternative treatment like I do. “Epidural” is a reference to the location of the injection, in the spinal canal. The usual substance which is injected is a corticosteroid, anti-inflammatory molecule. Hence, the term, “Epidural Steroid Injection” or ESI.
Many of the patients I treat have already had injections, and they either didn’t help, or they didn’t help enough, or the patient wants to try something else, instead of continuing injections. Very rarely, a bad side-effect may occur from injections. I have had two epidural steroid injections in my lifetime, and I’m shy to recommend them, when they are indicated. Like many things in medicine, injections and surgery, can both be a godsend in the right patient.
In order to know when injections and surgery are indicated, the doctor must have clinical experience with all the various methods of treatment. This is rare in a doctor, so patients are sometimes referred to the wrong person at the wrong time. In this regard, I am an unusual doctor. In addition to my 29 years clinical experience, I spent 18 years in orthopedics, physical medicine and physical therapy. And I spent 4 years, part-time, in a neurosurgical office, learning surgical indications and procedures.
The problem with injections is that they are over-used, because doctors don’t provide an effective alternative to injections. In addition to that, injections do not improve the anatomical cause of spinal pain, which is compression. Therefore, the compressive, anatomical problem continues to progress. That is why injections eventually stop helping.
A better approach to treatment, whenever possible, is to decrease the anatomical, compressive cause of the pain and disability. This has been my approach to treatment for the last ten years, and my clinical outcomes are much superior to the conventional, orthopedic, physical therapy and chiropractic treatments.
If I can help you, please call 404-558-4015.