Spine Injections

The UK Spine Centre has performed many thousands of spine injections safely and successfully. We are very experienced in giving injections comfortably and accurately so you have the best chance of pain relief and a speedy recovery.

Injections are an excellent first option and may avoid the need for more involved treatments or surgery.

There are several different types of spine injection. The injection we recommend will depend on your spinal problem and we will carefully consider and discuss what is best for you:

  • Facet Joint Injections – these injections are aimed at settling persistent pain arising from the facet joints. The facet joints are small joints at the back of your spine which can cause pain if they become inflamed and worn (arthritic).
  • Nerve Root Block – these injections aim to resolve pain coming from a pinched nerve. The term ‘Block’ is really a misnomer as your nerve will continue to work normally.
  • Transforaminal Epidural Injection – in this situation, we may be trying to target a particular nerve or area of the spine where we believe your pain is arising.
  • Caudal Epidural Injection – this is a single injection at the bottom of the spine. We may suggest this for back pain if pain is arising from multiple different areas. Think of it as a ‘treat all’ type approach.

Uses

We use injections very successfully to treat a variety of spinal problems including Slipped Discs, Spinal Stenosis, Back Pain, Sciatica, Neck Pain, Arthritis.

Injections use a strong anti-inflammatory (steroid) to reduce pain, redness, and swelling allowing natural healing and recovery.

We may also use injections to help work out (diagnose) where your pain is coming from. For example if your back pain was relieved by injecting your facet joints this would indicate that your pain was coming from the facet joints rather than somewhere else. We can then target the facet joints with more specific physical therapy or other treatments (Rhizolysis or denervation) to resolve the problem.

Procedure

In experienced hands, injections should only take about 5-10 minutes with minimal discomfort.

We use very fine needles to inject the spine. Most injections use a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid.

We routinely use sedation because it is more comfortable this way, however local anaesthetic alone will suffice.

We take live pictures during the procedure to position the needles in the correct place. This makes the injections more comfortable, more accurate, and more effective.

Benefits

In our experience injections can work fantastically well in some people, but in others may not work or last. It may be difficult for any specialist to predict who will do best.

Overall our results indicate that 50% of patients are completely better following one injection and require nothing further.

Successful injections will allow you to get back to doing exercise and physical therapy and this will help you to make a natural and lasting recovery.

There are numerous occasions where surgery has been avoided by injections and patients have gone on to make a full recovery.

Risks

Although a spine injection may sound a little scary, it is in fact a very simple and safe procedure to perform.

However nothing in life is risk free and there is a tiny chance of having a problem. In our experience, less than one patient in a thousand is at risk of developing either an infection, headache, nerve injury, reaction to the drug, worse pain.

Thankfully most problems resolve themselves or are readily treatable and we will look after you at all times.

Recovery

Key benefits of spinal injections are that they are very safe and effective and you will be able to walk around and go home within one hour of the procedure.

The local anaesthetic may make your leg feel numb and wobbly for up to 24 hours after the procedure. This resolves quickly and is no cause for concern.

You can return to all activities including work, exercise and physical therapy the day after the injection.

Hopefully you will notice an immediate improvement in your pain but it can take several weeks for the anti-inflammatory steroid to really work.

Your specialist will see you back in the clinic six weeks after the injection to check on your progress. But we are also available at any time if you need advice or support or wish to return to the clinic earlier.

Sometimes it may be helpful to repeat an injection, to settle a problem once and for all.

Further Reading

Please see our Patient Stories which describe real patients, their problems, diagnosis and successful treatment under our care at The UK Spine Centre.

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