Written by Dr. Eric Perry, PhD Image Credit: Pixabay “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia …How to Manage Your Anxiety in an Anxious World
Back pain affects millions of people around the world. It is one of the most common reasons why a person cannot function well at work or school. It can affect anyone regardless of age or gender.
One of the leading causes of back pain is spinal issues or conditions. The spine is essential for a person to properly perform daily functions on different levels. It is connected to all vital parts of the body, so spinal issues can significantly impact day-to-day activities and one’s quality of life.
Types of Spinal Conditions…
There are many types of spinal conditions. Some require spine surgery, while some need only regular exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle change, and certain medications. Generally, however, spinal conditions are categorized into:
- Acute Injuries
- Wear and Tear Conditions
An example of a spinal condition resulting from acute injuries is lumbar radiculopathy, which affects the nerve root. Pain and numbness are often felt on the legs and in the buttocks.
Another example is disk herniation or herniated disk, which can develop as a cause of injury or excessive strain.
Spinal stenosis, sciatica, and neurogenic claudication are classified as wear and tear spinal conditions (although the latter may also be caused by traumatic injury.)
Here is an infographic showing five of the most common spinal conditions and treatment options that you can choose from. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it illustrates the possible causes of the constant back and neck pain you’ve been feeling for some time now. You’ll know what to tell your orthopaedic specialist or physician when you visit them.
About the author
Dr. Mohamed M. Abdulhamid is a neurosurgeon and the Founding Director and CEO of Royal Spine Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona. He is certified in total cervical disc replacement, or artificial disc replacement, in minimally invasive Coflex® procedure, in minimally invasive discectomy and in intraoperative navigation and image-guided surgery. In addition to travelling for work, Dr. Abdulhamid enjoys travelling with his family. He also enjoys photography and he uses his camera to capture the beautiful landscape surrounding him locally and while travelling.
As I am sure my readers know I have had several different types of spinal injections from epidurals to facet joint injections and even a life-threatening episode with one particular injection. But what are the pros and the cons of these types of injections which have given you time-limited pain relief?
The facet joint injection provides important information for your doctor and can also give you pain relief. Why do I have to have an injection in the facet joint? The procedure is designed to prove if the facet joint is causing your pain by placing a temporary medication to reduce discomfort in the joint.
The pros are that it provides a direct management for joint pain and inflammation. It provides faster pain relief and relieves moderate to severe pain. Steroid injections also provide faster pain relief than oral forms of anti-inflammatory drugs. Joint injections allow the drug to be absorbed in the blood stream faster than oral medications. Making pain receptors less sensitive, in turn sending fewer pain signals through the nerves
There are no stitches or open wounds to deal with, and because of this, you have an extremely small risk of infection. Overall, facet joint injections are considered a very safe treatment.
You may get between three weeks and three months’ pain relief from a steroid joint injection, though this varies. You can have the injections every three months if you need them. Generally, it’s best not to have more than four steroid joint injections in a year into any one joint. This is because there’s a chance any more could damage your joint.
The waiting list on the NHS for any spinal injections is long but having them done privately is not cheap. It varies across the UK from £1,200 in the far north to £2,043 in the south.
The cons are that steroids have various side-effects. Age can also become a factor with facet joint injections. As you age, your facet joint becomes more damaged. This makes the injection more technically difficult because the joint is too small and maybe tighter. You may also grow small bones called osteophytes, which you do not normally see on an X-ray.
You could have an allergic reaction or cause bleeding although this is usually only a risk with patients who are on blood thinners.
Minor infections occur in less than 1% to 2% of all injections. Severe infections are rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.
You could get discomfort at the point of the injection or worsening of pain symptoms. And while very rare, damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection, bleeding resulting in compression, or injection into an artery causing blockage.
Have you had any spinal injections and if so how long did the pain relief last? I would love to hear from anyone who has had this treatment either on the NHS or privately as I am trying to get as much information as possible to write a much bigger article on it.
For me personally I enjoy every second of my pain free time after my injections and would not hesitate accepting any being offered to me.