Your spine is cushioned by rubbery discs that sit between your vertebral bones. Spinal discs are durable, but injury and age-related degeneration can make them break open. When a disc breaks (herniates), the jelly-like interior leaks out and presses against your spinal cord.
It’s called a herniated disc and is one of the most common back injuries among adults of all ages. It causes symptoms like back pain, muscle weakness, and tingling that spreads from your back to your arms or legs.
Fortunately, you have lots of treatment options to find relief from the discomfort. Aron Rovner, MD, and our team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery provide comprehensive care for herniated discs. One of the most effective treatments we offer is joint injections.
Here’s what you need to know about treating your herniated disc with injections.
How joint injections treat herniated disc symptoms
Like most injuries, herniated discs range in severity. The more severe the herniation, the more significant your symptoms.
A mild herniated disc may not press against painful nerves in your spinal cord at all, or you may only feel pain with certain activities. Severe herniated discs can cause chronic back pain, weakness, and nerve symptoms like numbness and tingling.
Depending on where the herniated disc is located, you might feel symptoms in your shoulders and arms (cervical herniation) or hips, buttocks, and legs (lumbar herniation). Severe herniated discs can restrict your mobility and hinder your quality of life.
Joint injections can be a good treatment option for people with moderate to severe herniated discs, because these minimally invasive shots help stop pain and other symptoms at the source.
Also known as epidural injections, they contain a mild anesthetic and a steroid medication. Dr. Rovner injects the medication directly into your injured spinal joint, and the anesthetic starts dulling the pain right away. The steroid delivers longer-acting pain relief and reduces chronic inflammation.
What to expect with joint injections for your herniated disc
Before recommending joint injections, Dr. Rover takes the time to understand your injury and your needs. He performs a full physical exam and reviews any treatments you’ve already tried. If you aren’t finding relief with your current treatment, joint injections could be a good option for you.
Dr. Rovner selects an appropriate dose of anesthetic and steroid medication for you, then carefully injects the blend near your herniated disc. The procedure takes just a few minutes in the office, and there’s generally no downtime required.
For many patients, joint injections are just one part of an overall treatment plan. Dr. Rovner may recommend activity modification, physical therapy, or other treatments along with your injections, depending on your situation.
You can get additional joint injections if you’re happy with the level of pain relief you experienced with the first one. Most people can get between 3-6 injections per year to manage herniated disc pain.
Looking for a better solution for your herniated disc? Joint injections might be right for you. To get started, schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Garden City, New York, or Fair Lawn, New Jersey.