Pain relief injections are a fast acting option for pain management, whether the pain is acute or chronic. They can be utilized anywhere on the body, but are most commonly used for the head, neck, back, shoulders, arms, and legs.
You can expect to experience some irritation at the site of your injection, but this will go away after a few days. In most cases, you will be able to return to your normal activities quickly. Your injections will likely be able to be repeated multiple times for ongoing pain relief.
Examples of pain relief injections include:
- Epidural – Epidurals involve injecting an anti-inflammatory medication to the area surrounding the base of the spinal cord. This area is also referred to as the epidural space. The result of this injection is concentrated pain relief. An epidural is often used for lower back pain, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and herniated discs. The results of an epidural can last up to a year, depending on the source of pain.
- Facet block – Facet blocks are made up of anti-inflammatory medications that block pain in the facet joints. The facet joints in your back are responsible for the spine turning and flexing, but the cartilage around the joints is a common source of pain. Facet blocks can be used in any area of the spine and can also be utilized as a diagnostic method.
- Lumbar sympathetic block – This type of block injects medication into the nerves that are located in the lumbar area. This prevents the nerves from sending pain signals into the spinal cord. This procedure takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes and is most commonly used for conditions like neuropathy, phantom limb pain, and complex regional pain syndrome. With each repeat injection, you will likely experience even more relief.
- Nerve root block – A nerve root block is made up of a local anesthetic and often a steroid that is delivered to space surrounding a spinal nerve root. This works by preventing pain from traveling along the nerve pathway and into the brain. The injection takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, and is most commonly used for things like complex regional pain syndrome and herniated discs.
- Radiofrequency ablation – This is also referred to as radiofrequency lesioning. This injection can take anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour and involves heating nerve tissue in order to desensitize the nerves that send pain signals to the brain. A nerve block might be used first in order to test which nerve is responsible for sending the pain signals. This injection is most commonly used for osteoarthritis pain, back pain, and neck pain.
- Sacroiliac joint injection – The sacroiliac (SI) joints are located where the pelvis and spine meet. As a result, they absorb a lot of force. When the joints become inflamed, the result is chronic pain. Injecting the joints with cortisone can reduce inflammation and pain in the legs, buttocks, and abdomen. The injection itself takes 20 to 30 minutes.
- Trigger point injections – Your trigger points are also known as muscle knots. A trigger point injection involves deactivating these knots with a combination of corticosteroid and anesthetic. This type of injection is used for things like tension headaches, fibromyalgia, and muscle pain.