Back pains are a common problem for middle aged people. This affects athletes and non-athletes alike. There are several remedies for this type of ailment, depending on the cause of the pain. Among the common treatments is the transforaminal epidural steroid injection. A transforaminal injection is a procedure that involves the injection of long acting steroid into the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve roots exits. The opening is also called foramen. There is a small sleeve of the epidural space that extends out over the nerve root for a short distance. Occasionally, these injections are referred to as root sleeve blocks, root blocks or transforaminal epidural blocks. The purpose of this type of procedure is to reduce the swelling of the nerve roots in the spinal area and the tissues surrounding it. Tingling, numbness and other symptoms may also be remedied by this type of treatment.
In this type of procedure what is actually being injected is mixture of saline, anesthetic and long acting steroid medication. The amount injected is usually between one or two milliliters. The injection usually lasts five to ten minutes. The exact procedure goes like this. A needle will be inserted through skin and deeper tissues. There is slight pain when the needle is injected but doctors will usually numb the deeper tissues and skin by using local anesthetic. Once the anesthetic takes effect, the insertion of the needle will only feel like a pinch or a strong pressure. But for people with low pain tolerance, there is an option to do intravenous sedation to easily tolerate any pain if there is any.
After the injection, you may feel numbness in your arms and legs, depending on where the injection was done and how much local anesthetic was used during the procedure. Nonetheless, most patients can still actively move their arm or leg. This weird sensation comes from the absorption of the local anesthetic and not from the amount. You may also notice that your pain may be gone or it isn’t as severe as before. This immediate effect is also due to the local anesthetic injected. This will usually last only for a few hours. The pain may return and you may experience some soreness or throbbing for a day or two. This is because of the mechanical process of needle insertion, as well as initial irritation from the substance injected. You will usually start noticing less pain from back pains on the third day or so. The effect of Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection should last between several days to several months.