Did you know that employees lose 83 million days of work annually due to back pain? Adult Americans with back pain also spend over 200 million days per year in bed.

When we experience back pain, it affects every aspect of our lives.

Sleeping seems impossible. Activities like gardening cause pain. Even hugging a loved one feels excruciating.

If you’re considering injections for back pain, keep reading. We’ll learn more about back surgery vs. injections and what you and your doctor can do to help relieve your back pain.

Injections for Back Pain Explained

Since taking over-the-counter and prescription pain medications for long periods is not ideal, steroid injections for back pain might be a good option. If you’re curious about steroid injections, keep reading.

The steroid commonly used in these injections is cortisol. Cortisol is the most common of the types of injections for back pain. Cortisol occurs naturally in your body and is produced by your adrenal glands.

Cortisol aids in many of your body’s functions, but it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Our doctors will inject the cortisol into the epidural space around your spine. Adding cortisol to the epidural space helps calm inflamed nerves and can decrease your pain level.

What Spinal Conditions Do Back Injections Treat?

Cortisol injections are not warranted for every type of back injury or source of pain. Doctors often use these injections for spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or sciatica.

Our doctors will review your case and determine if these injections are right for you.

The Pros and Cons of Injections for Back Pain

As with any medical procedure, there are pros and cons. If your doctor recommends steroid injections for your back pain, it’s because they believe the benefits are greater than the risks.

Here are a few things you should consider before undergoing this treatment.

The Pros

Steroid injections offer many positive ways to manage back pain. Understanding these pros can help you make an informed decision.

Minimal Side Effects

Spinal injections are easy to administer. Your doctor will numb the injection site or may give you a light anesthetic. Since the injections target a small area, the procedure takes only a few minutes.

You might experience some soreness at the injection site, but it shouldn’t last long. Your doctor may ask you to take it easy for a day or so. After that, you can resume your normal activities.

Targeted Pain Relief

When your doctor administers injections for back pain, they’re placing the medicine right at the source of your pain. Other types of pain medication affect your whole body and can take up to an hour before you feel relief.

These injections also offer a high dose of cortisol. Since the dose is higher than what your adrenal glands produce on their own, the cortisol injection has a stronger effect.

Proven Success Rate

Many people with back pain find relief after their first injection. This method of treating back pain is safe and effective. Our doctors are happy to explain how these types of injections for back pain work well for other clients.

The Cons

Every medical treatment has its drawbacks. Be sure to speak with your doctor about the possible cons of steroid injections.

The Pain Relieving Effects May Wear Off

Most patients feel pain relief for weeks or months after the injections. Some even report decreased pain for up to a year. Still, not everyone responds to the injections in the same way.

It’s important that you talk to your doctor about reasonable expectations. You and your doctor can also discuss other treatments if injections aren’t working for you.

Steroid Injections Have a Time Limit

Cortisol injections aren’t designed for back-to-back use. In general, it’s only safe to have these injections every few months.

Your doctor will discuss your particular case with you. If you’re experiencing pain too soon after an injection, consider other options that may be necessary.

Back Surgery vs. Injections

Most spinal specialists exhaust all other options before considering back surgery. Still, if you’ve tried steroid injections and continue having severe back pain, a conversation about surgery may come up.

Again, back surgery is only warranted for certain spinal conditions, many of which are also treated with injections. If you have spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, scoliosis, or a vertebral fracture, surgery may be right for you.

Back surgery has advantages over injections. Your surgeon can target the exact source of your pain rather than treating the symptoms. For many people, surgery is the option that produces the best results.

Today’s surgical techniques allow your surgeon to operate in a less invasive way. Using lasers, endoscopic cameras, and other state-of-the-art tools, your surgeon can sometimes avoid the more invasive open incision type of surgery.

Depending on the type of surgery, your recovery time will vary. Some patients are up and about within a few days. Physical therapy is almost always an essential part of your recovery.

Your doctor must also ensure you’re a good candidate for a surgical procedure. Your health, lifestyle, and mobility level are all things your doctor will consider.

Still, advancements in spinal surgery mean that a surgical procedure may be the best option for you.

Talk to Our Spinal Experts Today

If back pain is impacting your life, contact us today. Our specialists are dedicated to helping our patients live pain-free lives. Whether you need injections for back pain or want to discuss surgical options, our team of professionals can determine the best options for you.

Don’t wait! Take our patient symptom quiz now and learn more about how we can help.