back pain

A minimally invasive outpatient solution for back pain

Category: Health Published: Monday June 13, 2022 10:27 AM David Spinner

Back pain is something that most people will experience at some point in their lives; In fact, an estimated 80% of Americans will experience such pain at some point in their lives.

There are of course a number of methods to relieve such pain. Depending on the severity and cause, solutions range from over-the-counter and prescribed pain relievers to a variety of surgeries; the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) identifies nine, including vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for fractured vertebrae; discectomy and microdiscectomy, in which a herniated disc is removed through an incision in the back; and spinal laminectomy, in which the lamina (or bony walls) of the vertebrae are removed.

To which I would add fluoroscopic spinal injection, a minimally invasive procedure for those suffering from severe arm, leg, neck, or back pain. The goal of the procedure is to determine the exact cause and location of the patient’s pain and to relieve that pain.

The injection itself is a mixture of a local anesthetic and a steroid such as cortisone. If the patient feels immediate pain relief, it is due to the local anesthetic and means that the correct cause of the pain has been identified. The steroid is used to reduce inflammation and pain over the longer term.Im Knowing Scarsdale 400x200

As for “fluoroscopy,” it means using a fluoroscope (or x-ray) to guide the needle to the exact spot your doctor/surgeon thinks is causing you pain. Fluoroscopic spinal injections are commonly used in patients suffering from spinal stenosis, back pain, herniated discs, degenerative discs, sciatica, and other conditions.

By providing relief that can last for several months and by identifying exactly where the pain is coming from, your doctor can help develop a treatment regimen going forward, which admittedly could eventually lead to surgery.

But fluoroscopic spinal injection is an attractive and valuable option. It is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require sedation (although sedation is available), can be performed in our office and typically takes 15-30 minutes. If the procedure is successful, it is considered appropriate to repeat it up to 3 times per year based on individual patient response and requirements.

If the treated region is indeed the cause of the patient’s pain, the patient may experience immediate pain relief and longer lasting pain relief 2-5 days after the injection.

Note that the procedure should not be performed on people who are pregnant, have an infection, or have bleeding problems.

For more information, discuss with your doctor the options that a fluoroscopic injection into the spine can offer you.

Spinner David Harvestdr David Spinner is Director of Pain Management at White Plains Hospital. Call for an appointment 914-849-1199.