Injections offer an effective, nonsurgical treatment, especially for lower back pain. These come in a number of different forms, including epidural steroid injections, facet injections, and steroid injections into large joints (for instance, sacroiliac or hip). Introduction of such treatments often occur following the exploration of medication and/or physical therapies, and before considering surgery. Injection treatments can prove useful, both as a means of providing pain relief and as a diagnostic tool for identifying the source of a patient's pain.
Because of the way they deliver medication directly to the anatomic location of the pain, injections often offer more effective pain relief than can be achieved through the use of oral medications. Steroid medications can be used to introduce an anti-inflammatory component directly to a distressed area. Depending on the type of injection being used and the nature of the pain being addressed, the duration of pain relief can vary significantly.
In addition to offering pain relief, injections can be used to zero in on the nature and reason behind the pain. For instance, if temporary relief occurs as a result of an injection of lidocaine or other similar numbing agent into a facet or sacroiliac joint, it is reasonable to conclude that the region injected is the source of the pain. In this way, when considered along with othe available information (from medical records, physical exams, imaging studies, etc.), injections can be very helpful in guiding further treatment of a patient.