Are you suffering from back pain? Have you been considering caudal injections to relieve the pain?
A groundbreaking type of steroid injection that is used to treat chronic lower back pain, caudal injections are an effective option for managing pain. Back pain can wreak havoc on your overall quality of life, whether caused by injury, trauma, or illness. It’s the leading cause of disability worldwide. Many people who live with back pain have tried many treatments, only to be disappointed with little or no relief from symptoms.
However, new research has found that spinal injections are amongst the most direct treatments for low back pain, helping to address the root cause of the pain.
Caudal injections (or caudal epidural steroid injections) have become one of the most common alternative treatments for back pain. Typically, Dr. Atwater recommends spinal injection for individuals experiencing lower back pain caused by any of the following conditions:
- Herniated disc
- Bone spurs
- Bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis
Others may benefit from caudal injections because of an accident injury that led to chronic back pain.
What are Caudal Injections?
We administer caudal injections (see caudal injection video here) into the epidural space in the low back. This area is very important, as it protects the spinal cord and any surrounding nerves from damage and injury. The discs in the lumbar region are susceptible to wear-and-tear, often leading to chronic lower back and leg pain.
A caudal injection in the spine may help relieve back pain and other symptoms because of the steroid medication that helps reduce inflammation. Once administered, the steroid medication moves along the spinal canal, soothing the nerve roots and protecting the injured area.
What Are the Benefits?
Caudal injections are known for their fast-acting healing abilities. Many back-pain patients report experiencing long-term relief after just one session, while others need to come in for a series of injections before they notice a difference.
The good news is that the procedure only takes a few minutes and can be done right here in Dr. Atwater’s office.
Some of the bigger benefits of caudal injections include:
- It helps relieve low back pain.
- It’s far less invasive than surgery.
- There are fewer risks than back surgery.
- It has a fast recovery period.
- The procedure only takes a few minutes and can be performed in-house.
Are There Any Risks?
Although caudal injections are quite safe, some risks come along with all types of spinal injections, such as:
- Nerve problems
- Prolonged feelings of numbness
- Increased pain
- A ‘spinal headache’ that comes on shortly after the injection
- Bleeding at the site of the injection
- Infection at the site of the injection
There are also several noteworthy contraindications to caudal injections, including allergy to certain medications, pregnancy, and being unable to lie on your side or back for a short time after the injection. If you have diabetes or congestive heart failure, we will need to take additional precautions before this procedure. Often, we will recommend other pain management treatments for these individuals in place of steroid injections.
If you have any questions about these risks and side effects, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic. Bring up any concerns with Dr. Atwater and let him know any health conditions, medications, and supplements you may be taking. We are here to make sure the caudal injections are understood in terms of how it’s performed, any precautions we need to take, as well as the benefits and risks.
Preparing for the Injection
Before your appointment for a caudal injection, Dr. Atwater or one of the orthopedic specialists on his team will provide you with a series of instructions. We typically require patients to arrive an hour before the procedure, as we may need to perform last-minute tests to ensure the injection will be successful.
We ask that you do not eat anything within 4 hours of the procedure. For more clarification on this, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Most patients can resume their regular eating habits on the same day as the appointment.
How are Caudal Injections Performed?
When a patient comes into our clinic for caudal injections, he or she will begin by lying on their side or abdomen. The procedure usually takes 15-30 minutes. Once relaxed, Dr. Atwater or one of our esteemed orthopedic practitioners will numb your lower back (the area just above your buttocks) with a local anesthetic. At this point, we will insert a needle just above the tailbone, injecting a mixture of anesthetic and steroid into the area.
It is common for patients to experience some mild discomfort at the needle insertion site, but it should not be painful. After the injection, you will need to rest either lying flat on your back or seated. This short recovery period (several minutes) will allow the area that was just injected to settle.
What to Expect In Recovery
Following a caudal injection, you will be advised to take it easy and avoid any strenuous activities for the next 24 hours. Most people report experiencing less back pain within a day or two following the procedure. However, it can take up to three days or slightly longer. It is also normal for the injection area to be tender or sore for several days following the procedure.
While many people experience pain relief for several months following a caudal injection, the pain may return faster than that. We recommend coming into our office for regular injections if this is the case, as well as to speak with an orthopedic specialist about additional things you can do at home to help relieve the pain.
The frequency in which you will need an injection will depend on your particular case and how well your body is responding to the steroids.
Are Caudal Injections Right for You?
The effectiveness of a caudal epidural spinal injection will depend on the root cause of your pain. However, most people experience relief within just 30 minutes! If you’ve been dealing with severe low back pain for more than four weeks, caudal injections may be right for you. Additionally, if you have tried other treatment methods for back pain with no luck, it may be time to consider this highly-effective epidural injection.
Back pain is no laughing matter and is something that millions of Americans deal with every day. If you are tired of living in pain and would like to learn more about what you can expect with caudal injections, please contact Ortho Spine America today and request an appointment with Dr. Atwater.