Corticosteroids (steroids) are an anti-inflammatory medication for conditions ranging from asthma to Crohn’s Disease. A synthetic version of hormones produced by the adrenal glands, corticosteroids reduce pain and inflammation. At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors use corticosteroids to treat spinal and musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.
As holistic healthcare providers whose primary focus is to heal our patients nonsurgically, our physiatrists find corticosteroids to be a valuable tool among our many traditional and complementary therapeutic options. In our practice, corticosteroids are typically administered by injections directly to the site of the pain so systemic side effects are minimized.
At all of our five offices in Nassau and Suffolk, we have a high rate of success using two basic types of corticosteroid injections: epidural steroid injections (ESI) for the spine and ultrasound-guided steroid injections for joint, muscle, and nerve tissue.
Epidural Corticosteroid Injections
For our doctor to see the injection site clearly and administer the epidural injection in precisely the right spot, we work under fluoroscopic guidance. Once set up, our equipment provides continuous X-ray images on a computer screen so the injection will hit its target exactly where the medication is needed to reduce inflammation, thereby alleviating pain.
Epidural steroid injections are administered to the spine in one of two ways:
- Transforaminal injections at the site of an inflamed disc or nerve root
- Interlaminar injections through a targeted area in the epidural space
Along with the corticosteroid, we inject two other medications: a contrast dye for heightened visibility and a local anesthetic. Depending on where you are experiencing pain, a corticosteroid injection may be given in the neck to relieve cervical pain, the lower back to relieve lumbar pain, or the arm or leg to relieve radicular (radiating) pain.
In addition to epidural injections, our physiatrists also administer facet joint injections that treat pain around the small facet joints of the spine that attach each vertebra to the others. Facet injections, too, are administered under fluoroscopic guidance.
Conditions We Treat With Epidural Steroid Injections
We may use epidural injections as part of your treatment plan if we have diagnosed you with one of many spinal problems, including:
At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have a high rate of successful outcomes with epidural injections which we frequently use in combination with other therapies for optimal results.
How Epidural Corticosteroid Injections Are Beneficial
While epidural corticosteroid injections do not work for everyone, they give a tremendous number of people not only relief from pain but increased mobility and range of motion for weeks, months, or even years. These shots also provide the added advantage of enabling patients to engage in more physical therapy and general exercise that will further improve their health.
Corticosteroid Epidurals Are Not Appropriate for Everyone
Individuals who are pregnant, for whom fluoroscopy could harm the unborn child, should not have epidural injections, nor should patients with bleeding problems, high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, or glaucoma. Corticosteroid epidural injections are also inadvisable for patients who take blood-thinning medication.
Ultrasound-Guided Corticosteroid Injections
To relieve pain and inflammation in joints and muscles in areas other than the spine, our doctors use ultrasound-guided injections to find the precise place your pain originates. In other words, while injecting you with the medication that may provide blessed relief, they have perfect clarity of the site they are targeting on a computer screen that allows them to enlarge and brighten images produced by inaudible, high-frequency sound waves.
Conditions We Treat With Ultrasound-Guided Steroid Injections
We use ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections to treat problems with joints, muscles, and nerves throughout the body, especially in and around the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Some of the injuries and conditions we treat with these injections are:
- ACL tears
- Hip Bursitis
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hamstring injuries
- Meniscus tears
- Muscle spasms
- Myofascial pain
- Pinched nerves
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Tennis elbow
Ultrasound-guided injections used to relieve painful muscle spasms are called “trigger point” injections and can be extremely helpful for patients with pain due to degenerative or disease conditions as well as sports or accidental injuries.
How do epidural corticosteroid injections differ from ultrasound-guided injections?
Corticosteroid injection procedures are quite similar whether they are administered to the spine or other areas of the body, except for the imaging machinery used for each, and the fact that dye and sedation are only used with epidurals. Both types of injections take between 15 and 45 minutes, followed by a short recovery period.
In both cases, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the site. Most patients feel pressure rather than pain during the injections themselves. Depending on the location we’re targeting, we may repeat the injection on the other side.
After a brief recovery period, patients can return home and go back to their normal routine, though they should have someone else drive them if they have been sedated. Though some patients experience a bit of soreness at the injection site and may feel a slight increase in pain as the local anesthetic wears off, most will feel significant relief within a day or two. Depending on how well your pain is diminished by the injection, we may recommend one or two follow-up injections at designated intervals.
Contact Our Experienced Doctors for Effective Corticosteroid Injections In Long Island
Don’t be bullied by ongoing pain. Contact Long Island Spine now so we can properly diagnose the cause of your suffering and take immediate steps to relieve it. Corticosteroid injections can improve your quality of life immensely and take very little time to inject and the pain is almost always easy to tolerate for patients. Call us now for an appointment so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.