What is an Epidural steroid injection (ESI)? What are they used for?
An Epidural steroid injection is an injection of cortisone, long-lasting steroid, administered in the Epidural area of the spine. Epidural Area refers to the area that surrounds the spinal cord and the nerves coming out of the cord.
Epidural steroid injection or epidural injection is generally used to minimize the pain caused by a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc ailment. These three spinal ailments are often the reasons behind pain observed in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) areas of the body spine.
Recently there was news regarding a meningitis outbreak among patients who received epidural steroid injections. This is a listed possible adverse side effect for this “safe and effective” non-surgical treatment method for chronic back pain. The most recent news reported stated:
“No new deaths from a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to epidural steroid shots were reported Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The number of cases nationwide rose to 184 meningitis cases in 12 states, plus one peripheral joint infection (e.g. knee, hip, shoulder, elbow), including 14 deaths. Texas was the most recent state to report a case.”
It is believed that epidural injections are low-risk and non-surgical tools to help a patient stay healthy against problems such as radicular and back pain, which are caused by inflammation.
What are the possible side effects for ESI’s?
Though the ESI injections are quite safe in the general parlance, yet there always remain some adverse reactions of epidural steroid injections. Temporary pain may be felt by a patient administered with an ESI injection. There may be risks of spinal punctures, infections, bleeding inside epidural area with damage to nerves, headaches, retention of water in the body, suppression of natural produced cortisone, and a rise in the level of body sugar to name a few.
Apart from the above-mentioned side effects, the list of side-effects may include facial flushing, increase in localized pain, non-positional headaches, sleeplessness, anxiety, restlessness, and fever on the day of injection, transient fall in the level of body immunity, high blood sugar, cataract, stomach ulcer, sever arthritis of the hips etc.
The list of adverse reaction of epidural steroid injections includes a temporary numbness of the bladder and bowels, bacterial meningitis, conus medullaris syndrome, aseptic meningitis, and arachnoiditis. However, it should be noted that most of these complications arise only after multiple subarachnoid injections over a period of time.
What is a natural, safe alternative to ESI?
Chiropractic’s main focus is to make sure the nervous system is functioning to the best of it’s ability. If you put two and two together, you can see why chiropractic care is very effective at treating pain.
Epidural steroid injections can be dangerous, ineffective, or can cause worse problems in the end.
Stop thinking about the pain, and start thinking about restoring your function! When normal functioning is restored to the bones, tissues, and muscles, your pain disappears. And that is much better side effect than temporary numbness of the bladder and bowels, bacterial meningitis, conus medullaris syndrome, aseptic meningitis, and arachnoiditis.
A chiropractor isn’t just interested in taking away your pain, he or she is interested in correcting the reason why the pain occurred in the first place. Consider chiropractic first, and you may be able to avoid medical intervention with possible side effects including epidural steroid injections. Your body has the ability to heal when provided with the correct tools and interference is removed.
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