Sometimes you may be referred for a spinal injection, either for diagnostic and therapeutic reasons.
Nerve Root Injection
Nerve Roots may become inflamed when impinged or compressed by a bulging disc. Occasionally, an imaging study (e.g. MRI) may not clearly show which nerve is causing the pain and a nerve root injection is performed to assist in isolating the source of pain. In addition to its diagnostic function, this type of injection may offer the patient some pain relief.
Medial Branch Block
Medial branch nerves are small nerves that feed out from the facet joints in the spine, and therefore carry pain signals from those joints. A medial branch block temporarily interrupts the pain signal being carried from a specific facet joint. This procedure in which an anesthetic is injected near small medial nerves connected to a specific facet joint. Typically several levels of the spine are injected in one procedure.
Facet Joint Injection
A facet joint is a small joint of the spine that provides stability and help guide motion. These joints are found in the neck, upper and lower back regions. These joints become painful due to arthritis, injury or mechanical stress. A cortisone injection reduces inflammation and provide long lasting pain relief from 3-6 months. Results vary from person to person.
An epidural injection is where a mixture of a local anaesthetic and a steroid, such as cortisone, is injected into the space surrounding the spinal cord (epidural space).
Epidural injections are useful to settle down pain that is associated with inflammation within the lumbar spinal canal. The epidural space is the fat containing area between the outside lining of the spinal cord (dura) and the spinal canal.
Pain relief can sometimes be obtained with this technique for acute lumbar disc herniations and occasionally with acute discogenic pain. For reasons that are not entirely understood it may also provide relief for some sufferers of spinal stenosis. Epidurals can also be used to diminish neural tension and hence can be used for hamstring and calf dysfunction.
Radio Frequency Denervation
Radio Frequency Denervation (RFD) or abaltion is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the emission of pulsation of heat through a fine needle to disacle and prevent nerves from transmitting pain signals.
The procedure has been used traditionally to treat facet, saroiliac joint and back pain. This procedure may offer a longer lasting pain relief than spinal coristone injections. More recently, RFD has been used to treat soft tissue conditions such as plantar faciitis. Achilles tendonitis, groin pain and foot neuromas.