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Why Lumbar Epidural Injections Might Be the Answer to Your Sciatica

Why Lumbar Epidural Injections Might Be the Answer to Your Sciatica

If you’re struggling with sciatica and not finding relief from home remedies such as stretching exercises or over-the-counter pain meds, an epidural injection may be your next best choice.

Dr. Jason Chiu leads the team at The Painless Center in Carlstadt and Tenafly, New Jersey. Dr. Chiu is double board-certified in pain management and anesthesiology. He focuses his extensive medical expertise on nonsurgical solutions for acute and chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, complex regional pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia

Dr. Chiu also specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sciatica. Read why he may recommend an epidural injection and how it can relieve your symptoms.

Why do I have sciatica?

Sciatica is not a medical condition. Instead, it’s a symptom of an underlying condition compressing and irritating the sciatic nerve. 

The medical name for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy. The nerve irritation is usually related to spinal disc herniation, bone spur formation, or another condition causing narrowing (stenosis) of the spaces through which the sciatic nerve exits the lumbar spine.

Nerve irritation may resolve on its own within a few weeks. However, some people have worsening pain and disability due to sciatica, and several weeks of sciatic pain may be more than you’re willing to deal with. 

Dr. Chiu can help by designing a pain management strategy that reduces pain and increases mobility.

What symptoms can I expect with sciatica?  

Sciatica symptoms can occur anywhere along the sciatic nerve distribution, which travels through the hips, buttocks, and down the backs of the thighs to the calves and feet. As a result, many people experience varying symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.

For instance, you may experience burning or stabbing pain in the lower back, affected hip or buttock, or the back of the leg, often described as an electric shock-like sensation. Numbness and tingling are also common and may occur in one part of the leg or buttocks while you’re having pain in other areas. In addition, muscle weakness in the hips, thighs, or legs can interfere with walking.

Sciatica symptoms are usually limited to one side but can occur in both. The pain may worsen with coughing or sneezing or after sitting for a prolonged period.

How does an epidural injection help with sciatica pain?

During an epidural injection, Dr. Chiu delivers a corticosteroid combined with an anesthetic to the epidural area surrounding the sciatic nerve, where it exits the lumbar (lower) spine. The anesthetic provides quick pain relief while the steroid relieves the inflammation compressing and irritating the nerve.

The injection is a quick in-office procedure that most patients tolerate very well. Dr. Chiu uses advanced imaging technology to ensure the accurate placement of the injection. You may experience slight pressure during the injection, but a topical numbing agent prevents discomfort at the site.

Pain relief can last from a few weeks to months, often long enough to address sciatica with conservative measures like home exercise programs or guided physical therapy.

Don’t live with pain! Instead, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Chiu at The Painless Center today. Call the office or request an appointment online. 


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