Injections are a nonsurgical treatment option for low back pain. They are typically considered as an option to treat low back pain after a course of medications and/or physical therapy is completed, but before surgery is considered. Injections may be effective for providing pain relief and as a diagnostic tool.
How Injections Relieve Back Pain
For pain relief, injections can be more effective than pills because they deliver medication directly to the location that is generating the pain. A steroid medication is injected to deliver a powerful anti-inflammatory solution straight to the area that is the source of discomfort. Depending on the type of injection, some forms of low back pain relief may be long term and some may be only temporary.
Injections to Diagnose the Cause of Back Pain
Diagnostically, injections can be used to help determine what is generating pain. If lidocaine or similar numbing medication is used and the patient feels temporary relief after an area is injected, it can then be understood that that specific region is the source of the pain. When considered in combination with a patient’s history, physical exam, and imaging studies, injections used for diagnostic purposes can be very helpful in determining further treatment for the patient.