November 1

10 Types of Spinal Injections for Pain Relief

November 1

Suffering from chronic pain can significantly decrease your quality of life. Whether you’ve tried certain prescription pain relievers before without much relief, or have tried to ignore your pain, hoping it will get better in time, you shouldn’t have to go through life in pain.

Spinal injections provide the opportunity for effective pain relief without needing to undergo surgery. There are a variety of different types of injections that specialize in reducing pain in certain areas of the body. So, no matter if you have back, neck, arm, or leg pain, spinal injections help chronic pain sufferers get the relief they need to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Learn more about the different types of spinal injections available so you can find the right treatment for your unique pain issues.

Female patient getting an injection in the clinic
The female patient getting an injection in the clinic

How Do Spinal Injections Work

Before diving into the different types of injections available, it’s essential to understand how spinal injections work, and how they can help to relieve your pain.

Spinal injections work by delivering the medication in localized areas of the spine depending on where you are experiencing pain. For example, you’ll receive targeted placement of the injection in certain parts of the spine depending if you are suffering from back, neck, leg, or arm pain.

There are a variety of reasons why you can experience chronic pain. If you are unsure of the root cause of your pain, our team of advanced pain specialists can administer different types of injections to help diagnose the specific cause and origin of your pain and create a treatment plan best suited to relieve your pain.

10 Different Types of Spinal Injections to Know

You may be wondering: How many types of injection medications are there?

Similar to how there are all sorts of parts of the body where you can experience pain, there are a wide variety of spinal injections to treat specific chronic pain issues.

Below are 10 different types of injections to know about that can help you better relieve your pain.

Epidural Steroid Injection

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) are anti-inflammatory steroid injections used to minimize pressure and inflammation in specific nerves in your back. This type of injection is often used to treat pain that radiates from your spine out into your limbs. The cause of radiating pain is usually the result of an irritated or compressed nerve. 

If you are experiencing sciatica pain, herniated discs, or any other back pain conditions that are causing you pain and discomfort, epidural steroid injections can be a great option for you.

There are three types of epidural steroid injections: caudal, interlaminar, and transforaminal:

  • Caudal Epidural Steroid Injections: Steroid injection is administered into the lowest part of the epidural space. Often, this treatment is used to help with widespread pain.
  • Interlaminar Epidural Steroid Injections: This injection type administers the anesthetic and steroid medication between the laminar of two adjacent vertebrae. This is a common treatment used to treat back pain due to herniated discs and spinal stenosis.
  • Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections: This injection is injected into the epidural space where the nerves from the spine move towards the body. This is a great treatment option for specifically targeting certain nerve roots that are the cause of your pain.

Selective Nerve Root Block 

The selective nerve root block (SNRB) procedure is used to identify the source of the specific spinal nerve root your pain is originating from. If you have a feeling that your chronic pain may be the cause of an irritated or inflamed nerve, SNRB can help identify the source of the pain.

The procedure is done by a steroid medication being injected at a specific nerve root. If your pain symptoms subside from this specific injection, then you’ve found the source of your chronic pain. However, if your pain symptoms continue, your doctor may inject into another specific nerve root and repeat the process.

Therefore, if you are unsure of the source of your pain, a selective nerve root block can better diagnose the root cause of your pain.

Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injections are minimally invasive types of injection used to block the pain from inflamed facet joints. These joints are between the vertebrae in the spine and cause pain for a variety of health conditions and circumstances.

If you are experiencing sciatica, spondylolisthesis, spinal osteoarthritis, whiplash, or a sports-related injury, these injections can better manage your pain. You’ll typically feel immediate pain relief so you can get back to doing the activities you love.

Sacroiliac Joint Block

Sacroiliac Joint Injections (SI) are injections administered between your sacrum and pelvic bones. Specifically, the sacroiliac joint in your pelvis helps transfer weight from your body’s legs and upper body. 

Often, inflammation in the sacroiliac joint can cause lower back pain, buttock pain, groin pain, and leg pain. There are a variety of health conditions sacroiliac joint injections can help treat to better manage your pain. This includes pain as a result of ankylosing spondylitis (a type of arthritis that causes inflammation), physical injury/trauma, osteoarthritis, and pregnancy.

Medial Branch Blocks

Medial branch blocks are another type of nerve block medication that also involves the facet joints found between the vertebrae of the spine discussed previously. The medical nerves are connected to the facet joint. Thus, the medial branch blocks are injections administered in these small medial nerves of the spine to relieve pain.

Lateral Branch Blocks

Lateral branch blocks target the nerve that causes pain from part of the sacroiliac joint. These nerves are located along the back of the sacrum. Often, you’ll undergo these lateral branch blocks to find the specific nerves causing your pain. Then, once the specific nerves causing the source of your pain are identified (with the lateral branch blocks), you may seek a more permanent treatment option following the spinal injections called RF lateral branch neurotomy.

Facet Rhizotomy

If you find relief with a facet joint block spinal injection, facet rhizotomy may be recommended. This is because facet rhizotomy specifically targets the same nerves that were found and injected by the joint block; however, rhizotomy works to disable the nerves for good. 

Facet joints in general are the primary sources of pain for those suffering from back pain. Therefore, if you are looking for a shot in the spine for back pain, and have already undergone various facet joint injections to identify the exact source of the pain, rhizotomy can be a great way to end your back pain for good.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a type of minimally invasive procedure that uses radio-frequency energy to disable certain nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. Specifically, the injection uses heat to damage nerve tissues causing pain. This is done by first identifying exactly what nerves are causing your pain by using guided fluoroscopy. Then, radiofrequency energy is applied to the targeted area by using a small needle. 

Radiofrequency ablation can help treat a variety of chronic pain conditions including arthritis, degeneration of joints, fibromyalgia, and complex regional pain syndrome. 

Regenerative Injections

These spinal injections use your body’s growth factors to accelerate and support the body’s natural healing process to better manage and reduce your chronic pain.

Specifically, regenerative therapy injections (RIT) can assist with treating chronic pain from unhealed injuries involving cartilage, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The fascinating thing about these types of injections is they trigger and signal to your body to accelerate the natural healing process. This means that your body will more efficiently remove damaged tissues and replace these tissues (likely causing you inflammation, pain, and discomfort) with new, healthy tissues.

The common injuries and health conditions regenerative therapy injections often help treat are pain from Achilles tendonitis, ACL injuries, biceps tendinosis, Golfer’s elbow, Iliotibial band syndrome, ligament-injuries, osteoarthritis, and sports-related injuries. 

Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

Sympathetic nerve blocks are types of injection that focus on your sympathetic nervous system. These nerves reach out from the spine into various parts of the body and assist in involuntary bodily functions from digesting to sweating.

These spinal injections work by temporarily blocking the sympathetic nerves found in your neck and lower back. Sympathetic nerve blocks can help a variety of conditions causing you chronic pain, including pain from spasms in the blood vessels, complex regional pain syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, and excessive sweating. 

Back Pain Doctor Hagerstown, MD

Benefits of Spinal Injections

If you are suffering from chronic pain, you shouldn’t have to suffer through the pain and discomfort. There are a variety of treatment options from surgery to physical therapy that can all assist in relieving your pain. However, sometimes physical therapy isn’t enough to make an adequate change to improve your pain and surgery can be costly and risky.

Spinal injections provide the perfect alternative for those who want effective pain relief, without undergoing surgery. Spinal injections are a safe, effective treatment option for many chronic pain sufferers. And, you won’t have to endure months upon months of physical therapy to start seeing progress in relieving your pain.

Here are the top 4 benefits spinal injections can provide to chronic pain sufferers:

  • Pain Relief: Spinal injections can provide much-needed relief to agonizing pain that won’t seem to go away with time or other forms of treatment. 
  • Treat the Source of The Pain: Rather than masking the pain such as by taking pain relievers day after day, spinal injections help treat the source of the pain by targeting the specific areas of the body causing the pain and discomfort. 
  • Improved Mobility and Daily Function: Spinal injections give you the ability to move and go about your daily function and movement with ease without having to worry about nagging pain. 
  • Better Quality of Life: Without constantly having to manage your pain, you’ll be able to get back to doing the activities you love without any pain getting in the way. Make lasting memories with friends and loved ones without chronic pain weighing you down.

What to Expect from Spinal Injections

At Pain and Spine Specialists, Dr. Rao and our team of advanced pain specialists are here to provide the most effective treatment plans to better manage your chronic pain. 

Spinal injections provide a safe, efficient way to target the specific areas along your spine causing your pain and discomfort. If you don’t know the cause or source of your pain, certain spinal injections can provide great ways to help identify and diagnose the source of your pain.

We offer compressive pain management care to help find the exact treatment you need to get back to living a better quality of life. Schedule your appointment today to learn how our team can help you create a tailored treatment plan to relieve your chronic pain.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are cervical spine shots?

Cervical spine shots (or cervical epidural steroid injections) are a type of epidural steroid injection where the medication is administered in the spinal cord in your neck. The primary goal of cervical spine shots is to better manage chronic pain from inflammation and discomfort from the nerves in your neck. This type of pain often radiates down from your neck into your shoulders, arms, and hands.

What is the most common injection for back pain?

Suffering from chronic back pain can greatly impact your function and overall quality of life. If you struggle with back pain that won’t seem to go away, epidural steroid injections can be a great option to reduce your back pain.
These injections can involve a shot in the spine for back pain by delivering a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine into your epidural space, which is the space outside the fluid around your spinal cord.

How long do spinal injections last?

Depending on the types of injections you receive and your specific pain circumstances will impact the length of effectiveness of the spinal injections.
Expect pain relief for about 3 to 6 months following your treatment. However, again results may vary on a patient-by-patient basis.