What to Expect With an Epidural Steroid Injection

When an individual is suffering from sciatica due to a pinched nerve, the pain may be excruciating. It may prevent a person from being able to work, play with their kids, concentrate or enjoy life for weeks to months.Sciatica treatment

Of the various treatments that can help reduce the pain of sciatica, epidural steroid injections at a Phoenix pain management clinic are one of the best ways of making life much more tolerable for individuals.

When an epidural steroid injection is recommended by a Phoenix pain management doctor, it is performed as an outpatient with the person being able to go home the same day. The procedure itself does not require either oral or IV sedation, however, some patients are used to that or have significant anxiety and want to have sedation. Often times, the procedure is performed simply with numbing medicine around the skin and through the soft tissues down to the bone overlying the spine.

Modern Phoenix pain doctors use either ultrasound guidance or fluoroscopy, which is a real-time form of x-ray. This allows for the highest level of accuracy available, as previous studies have shown without image guidance the miss rate for epidural injections is as high as 40%.

Phoenix pain managementPatients are usually placed on their belly on a well padded table that allows x-rays to go right through. The procedure itself takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes depending on the difficulty encountered with needle placement.

Once the needle is satisfactorily placed, the pain doctor will place contrast in the area to make sure it is successful. At that point numbing medicine along with steroid medication is injected to relieve the sciatica pain.

The patient is then taken to the recovery area and watched for approximately 30 to 60 minutes to make sure no allergic reaction occurs and the vital signs remain stable.

Pain relief may be immediate with an epidural steroid injection. Also it may be immediate and then wear off after a day once the numbing medicine wears off. When that occurs, steroid medication will often “kick in” after three days or so and may last for weeks to months.

Many studies have looked at the effectiveness of epidural steroid injections for sciatica. Overall, the good to excellent results occur in 75 to 90 individuals. The duration of pain relief is typically six weeks to upwards of 2 to 3 months. At that point, the injections may be repeated. Typically an individual will receive a series of three injections 1 to 2 weeks apart.

The risks of epidural steroid injections are small but real. There is a risk of infection, bleeding, nerve injury which is usually transient, and allergic reaction. A person may also have some transient reaction to the cortisone used, which may include a temporary blood sugar increase or slight weight gain or water retention.Pain Clinic Phoenix

Overall, epidural steroid injections are some of the most beneficial procedures in pain management today. If you are experiencing significant sciatica pain or what you think may be due to a pinched nerve, seek treatment with pain management Phoenix trusts today.

Treatment may include epidural injections and also possibly pain medication, Phoenix chiropractor treatment, physical therapy, acupuncture or spinal decompression therapy.

Pain Management Education Is Deficient in American Medical Schools

A new study out of the Journal of Pain shows that pain management education in American medical schools is limited and fragmentary. Chronic pain affects over one third of United States adults, and the treatment of pain often is in adequate. Along with that, we now know that pain education for the future doctors of America is inadequate as well.

This is surprising considering the depth of the problem in the American population. The researchers looked at US medical schools to see what kind of pain management education was being offered and how many medical schools provided that type of education.

Less than 4% of US medical schools taught a required pain course. 16% of the schools offered an elective in pain management education.

Most US medical schools do not teach any courses on pain management, in addition another large number of schools have fewer than five hours of pain education in a four-year period. The researchers use the term fragmentary in regards to pain management being taught in the context of a more general course which is not really focused on pain much at all.

Pain is one of the most common reasons people in America go to see a doctor or to an emergency room. Typically about an hour is spent in medical school on opioid pharmacology and not much else. The researchers noted that some of the areas that are under educated include cancer pain, pediatric pain, and legal issues pertaining to narcotic medications.

With such a considerable amount of regulatory effort being spent on going after doctors prescribing pain medication, it would seem prudent for education to be offered rather than simply punishment.

One of the recommendations that came out of the study was to increase the number of required pain focused courses that are offered in medical schools and to place pain management into a more organized in formal delivery system. The researchers noted that both emotional and intellectual skills are important when it comes to providing compassionate and educated pain management for patients.

When seeking pain management doctors in Phoenix and Henderson areas, make sure the ones under consideration for you have either finished fellowship training specifically in pain management or are Board Certified. A fellowship entails a complete year in learning the ins and outs of interventional procedures along with medication management for pain relief treatment.

Along with simply increasing the knowledge base for effectively treating their patients, they have also learned the emotional aspects of dealing with pain management as well.

If you or a loved one is suffering from acute or chronic pain, seek the best pain management doctors and chiropractors in Phoenix and Henderson today.