How Effective is an Epidural for Back Pain?

Epidurals are typically very effective for the relief of back pain. In fact, this type of back pain treatment usually proves effective for a long period of time. A person may have significant relief from back pain for weeks or even months after receiving an epidural for back pain. Some people even feel relief for up to a year following an epidural. The length of time epidural pain relief lasts and its effectiveness may vary, however, based on the severity of a person’s back pain and the drugs used in treatment.
When a person has an epidural for back pain, two types of medication are normally injected into the epidural space, which surrounds the dural sac. The dural sac contains both spinal fluid and nerve roots. In most cases, an epidural for back pain consists of both a local anesthetic and some type of steroid medication. This often proves far more effective than oral medications that only last for a few hours at a time. In most cases, an epidural for back pain provides long-term relief; some people may experience pain relief for months and even a year after treatment.
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After receiving an epidural for back pain, some people may believe the injected medications have failed to work or provided very little pain relief. In most cases, however, this is usually because they haven’t given the medication enough time to work. It is normal for a patient to fail to notice pain relief for a couple of days after treatment, and the full effects of the medication may not be felt until about two weeks have passed. After the medication effects have peaked, however, patients often experience significant relief from back pain.
An epidural for back pain may be so effective because it affects a person’s nerve roots. Epidurals help decrease the swelling of a person’s nerve roots, which translates into less pain. It is important to note, however, that an epidural cannot cure back problems; it can only provide temporary pain relief.
It is difficult to predict how effective an epidural will be for dealing with back pain. The majority of individuals who are given this treatment, however, do experience at least some pain relief. The success of this treatment may be due to the fact that the medications used in epidural treatments are focused on the source of pain transmission rather than being spread throughout the body as in oral medication treatments.

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