Facet joint, nerve root, and epidural injections can help many patients with spinal pain. The injection is typically a combination of anti-inflammatory steroid and numbing medicine (Marcaine). Injections are usually a quick, low risk, and painless experience.
In our practice, we do not think of injections as changing the inherent pathology (ie the injection will not decrease the size of a herniated disc). In some cases, the injections can decrease the pain to allow the patient to tolerate the time it takes for the natural healing process to occur. In other cases, the injections can decrease the pain to enable the patient to be most effective in physical therapy which allows the muscles to take pressure off the spine. Either way, injections are an important part of our practice when trying to help a patient avoid surgery.