When patients experience chronic and severe back pain, certain types of medications can be injected into the painful area of the spine in order to provide either diagnostic or therapeutic treatment.
Spinal injections can be administered to various sites along the spine. Some injections are used to relieve severe back pain. Other types of injections are administered to locate the source of back pain or source of injury to the spine.
These types of spinal injections are called "spinal blocks." They can be injected into spinal structures such as the epidural space, intervertebral space, nerve root, or facet joint. During the procedure anesthetics are injected into the specific area to relieve the pain. Oftentimes a steroid is also administered to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Once administered, the medications can move freely along the spinal canal coating the nerve roots and the lining of the facet joints. This begins to numb and relieve the patient’s pain. If the pain is relieved, the physician can be assured that the site of injury had been identified.