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Suffering from Sciatica (Radiculopathy)? Epidural Steroid Injections Can Help

Suffering from Sciatica (Radiculopathy)? Epidural Steroid Injections Can Help

Dr. John S. Michels is an interventional pain management specialist with a thriving practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas. 

This former NFL first-round draft pick and Super Bowl champion provides highly effective treatments to reverse the painful effects of a wide variety of issues, including nerve damage related to sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy).

Read more about sciatica and why Dr. Michels might recommend epidural steroid injections to reduce or eliminate your pain.

Understanding sciatica

The sciatic nerve controls movement (motor function) and sensation in your lower extremities. It exits your spine in the lumbar (lower back) area and forms the largest and longest nerve in your body as it splits and travels deeply through your hips and buttocks and down the backs of your legs to your feet.

Sciatica, also described as lumbar radiculopathy, occurs when the nerve roots exiting the spine are compressed or pinched. This results in irritation of the nerve and varying degrees of pain that can travel its entire length. 

Damage to the sciatic nerve can also cause weakness in the legs.

Depending on where the nerve root is compressed, sciatica may cause symptoms in both legs, but typically occurs in just one.

Why would I suddenly develop sciatica?

Dr. Michels notes that sciatica is most often due to changes in the lumbar spine that can irritate and inflame the nerve roots, including:

Because many of these issues develop over time, you may not notice any symptoms initially. But as the condition advances, it can eventually lead to the nerve impingement that causes sciatica.

Factors that increase your risk of developing sciatica include:

Fortunately, sciatica often responds well to physical therapy and other conservative therapies that address the underlying causes of sciatic nerve impingement.

How does an epidural steroid injection help sciatica?

Dr. Michels may recommend an epidural steroid injection to quickly reduce or eliminate the inflammation, nerve pain, and decreased mobility related to sciatica. 

The injection, performed in-office or at an ambulatory surgery center for your convenience, contains an anesthetic that offers immediate pain relief as well as a steroid that reduces ongoing nerve irritation by controlling your body’s inflammatory response to nerve impingement. 

The procedure can be performed using topical anesthetic or light sedation. Using X-ray imaging to ensure accuracy, Dr. Michels injects the medication directly into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord and affected nerve root. 

The pain relief, increased mobility, and other positive effects of an epidural steroid injection can last for several months, sometimes up to a year.      

For more information about sciatica or any of the other pain conditions Dr. Michels treats, schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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