Transforaminal Epidural Injections
How can this help my pain?
There are three types of transforaminal epidural injections your doctor can give you to relieve chronic pain in the back and shoulder area:
Transforaminal thoracic epidural injection ‐ an epidural injection to a specific vertebra in the mid-back or around the rib cage, that places anti-inflammatory medicine close to the nerve endings and into the epidural space to decrease inflammation of the nerve roots.
Transforaminal lumbar epidural injection ‐ an epidural injection to a specific vertebra in the lower back, that places anti-inflammatory medicine and anesthetic medicine close to the nerve endings and into the epidural space to decrease inflammation of the nerve roots, reducing pain in your back and legs.
Cervical transforaminal epidural injection ‐ non-surgical option to ease pain in the neck, shoulder and upper extremity. The neck is a vulnerable part of the spine and is susceptible to injury and degeneration. A variety of conditions can cause pinched nerves in the neck, which not only cause pain, but pain that spreads to the shoulders and arms. Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections deliver medication directly to the affected area, and can be used as a diagnostic tool and as a treatment modality.
Your doctor will evaluate your condition carefully before recommending a transforaminal epidural injection, in order to ensure that you are getting the best possible treatment for your type of chronic pain.
How are these different from epidural injections?
Transforaminal epidural injections are a targeted version of an epidural injection, usually administered using fluoroscopy, a technology which combines x-rays and a fluorescent screen to obtain real-time moving images of the internal organs and structures of the human body. Since it is a more precise version of epidural injections, it allows for smaller amounts of the anesthetic and anti-inflammatory to be injected closer to the interface of the nerve root, disc and dura, and for this reason can be more effective in relieving pain.
In addition to being used to relieve pain, this procedure can also help identify the pathologic segment or nerve root causing your chronic pain. Often an irritative injury which cannot be visualized with other methods may be identified with transforaminal epidural injection.
How long will this procedure take?
Like regular epidural injections, the injection of anesthetics and an anti-inflammatory in transforaminal epidural injections will numb the affected area, reduce swelling and inflammation, allow damaged tissue to heal, and bring relief from pain for days or even months. From the patient’s perspective, the procedure only lasts a few minutes and they can be back to their regular schedule within 12 to 24 hours.