Therapeutic and Diagnostic Spinal Injections - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Therapeutic and Diagnostic Spinal Injections

Your doctor may recommend a spinal injection to help confirm a diagnosis or as a method to relieve pain.

Most spinal injections are performed with the assistance of a device such as a fluoroscopy that allows the doctor to target the precise area of the spine in question.



Patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the area during the procedure and an additional medication that provides longer-term relief of pain.

These are common injection procedures:

Frequently used therapeutic spinal injection procedures:

Sacroiliac Joint Injection - Your doctor may choose this procedure if you are suffering pain in the lower back, hips or buttocks. The injection site is where the base of the spine and pelvis bone meet.

A local anesthetic will numb the area and a steroid will provide long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Facet Injection - A facet is a smooth surface on the vertebra (bones) of the spine. A facet joint is where these smooth surfaces meet in a pair of vertebrae.

These joints provide stability and allow only limited movement of the spine. Inflammation often develops from injury or disease in the structures of the spine.

Facet joint injections attempt to reduce the inflammation and pain.

A local anesthetic will numb the area and a steroid will provide long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Your doctor may perform this procedure for diagnostic purposes only in which case the steroid is not given. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block - A nerve injury can result in abnormal activity resulting in pain and decreased blood flow to an arm or leg.

A lumbar sympathetic nerve block is the injection of medication to relieve the pain caused by the nerves' abnormal activity.

You will receive a local anesthetic as part of the procedure, which may include more than one injection. You will be provided detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Caudal Injection (Block) - Your doctor may choose a caudal injection to relieve your pain. This procedure addresses inflammation resulting from disease or injury. Caudal injections help relieve pain in the back and legs.

Caudal injections are often used in situations where conventional injection therapy may be difficult because of previous back surgery or other conditions.

A local anesthetic will numb the area and a steroid will provide long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Radiofrequency Ablation - This procedure involves interrupting pain signals using a safe radiofrequency current to heat the effected area. Under guidance of x-ray, your doctor inserts a tiny electrode through a needle.

The area is heated and the pain signals are interrupted.

You will have a local anesthetic to numb the area, however you will need to be awake and alert during the process to help your doctor locate the precise point of pain.

You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Nerve Root Injection - A nerve root injection places medication into the area around a nerve as it exits the spine to relieve pain.

Inflammation resulting from injury or disease may place pressure on nerves resulting in pain. Nerve root injections are most effective in treating pain that radiates down the arms or legs.

A local anesthetic will numb the area and a steroid will provide long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Epidural Injection - An injury or disease in any of the structures of the spine (ligaments, discs, nerves and joints) may produce inflammation. Inflammation can put pressure on nerves in the surrounding area.

An epidural injection is given to reduce this inflammation and pain. This procedure is used to treat back, neck, leg or arm pain.

Your doctor will administer two medications, a local anesthetic to numb the effected area and a steroid to reduce the inflammation. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Piriformis and Psoas Muscle Injection - The piriformis and psoas muscles are located in the lower back near the upper portion of the buttocks. This procedure involves injection medication into these muscles to relieve pain.

Spasms in these muscles can cause pain. The sciatic nerve runs through the body of the piriformis muscle and spasms can put pressure on this nerve causing pain to radiate down the leg.

A local anesthetic will numb the area and a steroid will provide long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Intercostal Nerve Block - You may experience pain in the structures of your chest wall as the result of injury, disease or surgery.

Intercostal injections involve placing medications into the chest wall to relieve pain.

Two medications will ease your pain. The first is a local anesthetic to numb the area and the second is a steroid for long-term relief. You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Frequently used diagnostic spinal injection procedures:

Discography - This procedure helps your doctor identify the source of your back pain. It involves injecting a special dye into the spine and studying the results.

Results of a discogram may help your doctor pinpoint the source of your pain or confirm a diagnosis.

As part of the diagnostic process, you may also have a CT scan of the area following the injection of the dye. This will provide more evidence of the problem to your physician.

You will receive a relaxant and local anesthetic to ease discomfort.

You will receive detailed instructions concerning preparation and recovery from the procedure.

Vertebroplasty - Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass.

The disease may result in bone fractures from seemingly minor events. Vertebral (back bone) fracture is the most common type of fracture. Approximately, 15 percent of 50-year-old women can expect to experience a vertebral fracture in their remaining lifetime.

Vertebral compression factures produce pain in approximately one-third of the cases. Long-term consequences of vertebral facture, whether painful or not, include postural deformity, chronic back pain, abdominal crowding, altered body image, social withdrawal, fear of future fractions and depression.

Vertebroplasty is a procedure, which can reduce pain and repair the fractured vertebrae with bone cement. Marshfield Clinic's skilled spine surgeons perform these procedures. A vertebroplasty is considered a minimally invasive procedure.

Your doctor will discuss which procedure is right for your condition.



Marshfield Clinic: Spine Care
1000 North Oak Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449

715-387-5511 or 1-800-782-8581

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