At EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region, our approach to managing back pain includes an array of specific injection therapies, each serving a distinct purpose. They can be performed to diagnose the source of back, leg, neck, or arm pain (diagnostic) or as a treatment to relieve pain (therapeutic). These noninvasive injections for back pain are administered by our trained orthopedic doctors and physiatrists, who are experts in determining the most appropriate intervention for each type of spinal pain or condition.

Anatomy of the Spine

Your spine is made up of small bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another, spanning from the lower back up to the neck. The spinal cord extends from the skull to your lower back and travels through the middle part of each stacked vertebra. Intervertebral disks sit in between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for the back. Between the vertebrae are small facet joints that help your spine move.

Because of the complex nature of the spine and the various conditions that can cause pain, the administration of injections to diagnose and treat back pain should be done by skilled, experienced back pain specialists.

Types of Interventional Procedures for Back Pain

An illustration of the facet joints between the vertebrae in the spine.Injections are a direct strike against the inflammation and pain in your back. These treatments are carefully administered to alleviate discomfort and improve your quality of life. There are several advanced spinal injection options our orthopedists use.

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) ESIs are a common treatment for radicular pain, which is pain that radiates from the spine to an arm or leg. This pain is often due to nerve irritation from herniated discs or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower part of your back). The steroid medication in ESIs reduces inflammation and swelling in the spinal nerves, providing relief from pain.

Facet Joint Injections: Facet joint pain is typically localized to the back or neck and can contribute to a decrease in spinal mobility. The facet joints are the connections between the bones of the spine. Facet joint injections involve the administration of a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory steroid) and a sedative to the painful facet joints, providing pain relief and helping to confirm the specific source of pain.

Medial Branch Blocks: Medial branch nerves supply the facet joints with sensation, including pain. A medial branch block is a diagnostic procedure where a sedative is injected near the medial branch nerves. If pain relief is experienced immediately after the injection, it can indicate that the facet joint is the source of pain, paving the way for further treatments like radiofrequency ablation.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): For chronic back pain emanating from the facet joints or sacroiliac joints (joints that link the pelvis and lower spine), RFA can be utilized. This procedure involves using radio waves to produce heat that disrupts nerve function, preventing pain signals from reaching the brain. It is often considered after a successful medial branch block.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections: Pain originating from the sacroiliac joints, located at the bottom of the spine, can be debilitating. Injections into these joints can provide relief from pain and inflammation. They also serve as a diagnostic tool to confirm the sacroiliac joint as the pain source.

Sympathetic Nerve Blocks: These blocks are used to diagnose and treat pain that is part of the sympathetic nervous system, such as complex regional pain syndrome. By blocking the sympathetic nerves, these injections can reduce pain and swelling in the affected area.

Regenerative Therapy Injections: This category includes treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. They are typically used for degenerative conditions or injuries that affect the spine’s soft tissues. These injections aim to utilize the body’s natural healing processes to regenerate damaged tissues.

Intradiscal Injections: Intradiscal injections target pain arising from the intervertebral discs, which act as cushions between the bones of the spine. When these discs are damaged or degenerate, they can cause intense pain. These injections deliver medications directly into the disc to reduce inflammation and pain, often used as part of a broader treatment plan for disc-related issues.

Kyphoplasty: Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure aimed at relieving pain from spinal compression fractures, which often occur due to osteoporosis. It involves the insertion of a balloon into the vertebrae, which is then inflated to restore the height and shape of the bone before applying a special cement to stabilize the structure. This procedure can alleviate pain significantly and improve mobility and posture.

Peripheral Nerve Stimulators (PNS): PNS devices are used for chronic nerve pain that is not responsive to other treatments. These devices are implanted under the skin and deliver low-voltage electrical currents to block nerve pain signals before they reach the brain. It’s a reversible treatment that can be customized according to the patient’s pain patterns and response to therapy.

Spinal Cord Stimulators: Spinal cord stimulators (SCS) are implanted devices that send a mild electric current to the spinal cord. These currents interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain and can significantly reduce pain sensation. SCS is typically used for chronic pain conditions that haven’t responded to more conservative treatments, offering adjustable and targeted pain relief.

3 Steps To Relieving Your Back Pain at EmergeOrtho

1. Accurate Diagnosis: The first step begins with a comprehensive diagnosis. Our team performs a detailed assessment of your back pain, reviewing your medical history and current symptoms, and utilizing advanced imaging like MRI or CT scans. This meticulous process ensures that we identify the precise cause of your discomfort, setting the stage for an effective treatment plan.

2. Tailored Treatment and Precise Interventions: Together, we design a treatment plan that is as unique as your pain. Each injection therapy is chosen and tailored based on your specific condition, pain severity, and overall health profile. Our physiatrists develop a plan focused not just on pain relief but also on enhancing your daily function and overall quality of life. We then administer targeted injections. Whether it is an epidural steroid to ease inflammation or radiofrequency ablation for pain signal disruption, each treatment is carefully carried out with precision. We keep you fully briefed on what to expect, from the procedure itself to the recovery period.

3. Recovery and Ongoing Support: Relief from pain is often not a one-time achievement but an evolving target. Post-procedure, we actively monitor your recovery, ready to adapt your treatment as necessary. This dynamic strategy may include additional injections or complementary therapies, all tailored to your body’s response. Beyond immediate recovery, we are committed to your long-term well-being, providing resources and guidance for exercises, ergonomic practices, and lifestyle adjustments that bolster the health of your spine. Our support continues after your clinic visits, with an accessible patient portal and ongoing consultations, ensuring you have a solid support system as you become pain-free.

EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region physiatrists are board-certified and fellowship-trained in the latest technologies and noninvasive injections for back pain. With a commitment to the highest standard of care, a blend of expertise, personalized attention, and experience in advanced treatments, you can be assured that you are receiving the most authoritative, safe, and effective spinal injections for your back pain.

If you are experiencing acute or chronic back pain that does not react to traditional conservative treatments, find one of our physiatrists near you. Schedule a professional evaluation to explore the most suitable injection therapy options for your condition.

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