Herniated disc injections are available as moderate treatment options for intervertebral conditions which have not responded to more conservative care practices. Injection therapy is an all-inclusive term used to cover the various hypodermic treatment modalities typically used in an attempt to resolve chronic disc pain.
Epidural injections are the most common type of hypodermic therapy used for the majority of diagnosed patients. Some herniated disc specialists have also been experimenting with prolotherapy injections, especially in patients diagnosed with chemical radiculitis.
This article details treatment choices using injections to control the symptoms of intervertebral herniations, and possibly, to even provide a cure in rare instances.
Epidural Herniated Disc Injections
Epidural injections for herniated discs are used for both symptomatic and curative applications, although the latter goal is almost never successful in truly resolving the causative process. Epidural injections are one of the most common moderate back and neck pain treatment option and are used for a wide assortment of causative conditions.
Epidural injections are typically made up of a mixture of cortisteroids, local anesthetics and flushing solution. Steroid injections for herniated discs are sometimes called cortisone injections or back pain injections.
Epidural injections might provide relief from the symptoms, regardless of whether the disc is actually the source of pain or not. This is because most epidurals contain long lasting anesthetics which can numb discomfort in a large regional area.
The best use of epidural treatment is for positively confirmed cases of chemical radiculitis. Epidurals can be moderately effective in washing away irritating proteins from neurological tissues in some specific ruptured disc and annular tear circumstances.
Prolotherapy Herniated Disc Injections
Prolotherapy is a very unique approach to disc healing and is becoming more common as an investigative therapy. Prolotherapy does not use drugs or steroids, but instead injects a natural irritant into the painful area in the hope of eliciting a natural healing reaction. Some disc pain sufferers have enjoyed relief from various forms of prolotherapy, but it is not clear the reason for said relief and the placebo theory is often theorized to be at the top of the list.
Most treated patients are suspected of suffering from chemical radiculitis from a rupture, extruded or sequestered disc. In these cases, the prolotherapy may help the body absorb the irritating disc proteins, but then again, many of these conditions are misdiagnosed and may not even be the true underlying source of pain. This is a controversial treatment modality used for a controversial diagnosis.
Injection Therapy for Herniated Discs
Epidural injections are almost always defined as symptomatic treatment. They might help relieve pain a little, a lot, or not at all. Results range dramatically, but relief only endures a few days in many patients and tops out at about 2 to 3 months in the best case scenarios.
Prolotherapy may be worth investigating for some types of disc pain, but I am not an advocate of the treatment for most disc issues and feel it is just another of the many in-vogue therapies trying to use the all-natural moniker to make an easy profit for the doctor. There are few risks involved in prolotherapy, but also statistically, few rewards.
Remember that most epidural injections do demonstrate significant risks. You must be clear of the hazards of any form of epidural treatment before undergoing the procedure, so be sure to discuss all the potential risk factors with your physician first.