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Lumbar Transforaminal Epidurals (Back Injection)

What is a lumbar transforaminal epidural injection?

This procedure is similar to the lumbar interlaminar epidural injection but targets the pinched or irritated nerves in the back as they leave the spine. This back injection is ideal for those that have a specific nerve in their spine that is causing the pain. Unlike an interlaminar epidural injection that targets a general area and multiple nerves at the same time, this injection directs all of the medication to one specific injured nerve.  When a distinct nerve is identified as the cause of pain, a lumbar transforaminal epidural injection can be an effective procedure to decrease the inflammation around that nerve and relieve pain radiating down the leg.

Who is a candidate for lumbar transforaminal epidural injections?

Those that could benefit from lumbar transforaminal injections have symptoms that include:

  • Weakness in certain muscles in one or both legs

  • Back pain with associated numbness and tingling going down one or both legs

  • Shooting pain down one or both legs most commonly extending below the knees

  • "Sharp" pain going down one or both legs

  • "Burning" pain going down one or both legs

  • Improvement of pain when pushing and leaning against a shopping cart while in a store 

    • Common position which helps relieve pressure on the nerves​ in the spine

What conditions are these injections used for?

  • Failed back syndrome

  • Sciatica

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Herniated or bulging disc

  • Bony spurs or arthritis

  • Degenerative disc disease

What to expect during the procedure?

The goal of this back injection is to decrease inflammation around the nerve that is being irritated or pinched. This is accomplished by using an x-ray machine called a c-arm which allows the physician to identify the area that the injured nerve is located. After the region is completely anesthetized with numbing medication, a thin needle is guided to the area where the nerve is leaving the spine. A mixture of a powerful anti-inflammatory steroid and additional numbing medication is injected around that nerve. Both of these medications help decrease the pain in the low back and pain radiating down the thigh, calf and/or foot. 

For more information or to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your back pain with one of our specialized pain management physicians, call Saint Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists today.

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