The Difference Between Epidural Steroid Injections and Nerve Blocks

The Difference Between Epidural Steroid Injections and Nerve Blocks

Advancements in pain management have resulted in numerous methods that control even the most complex symptoms. However, it’s also led to increased confusion over which treatment is which and what provides the most relief.

At Valley Pain Centers, our experts offer a variety of interventional pain management therapies. In this blog they share the following insights into epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks and how they offer relief.

What epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks have in common

Before looking at the differences between these two treatments, let’s take a moment to explore what they have in common. 

First, they both involve targeted injections with a syringe along the spine. Second, our team uses these treatments to address nerve pain. And third, they only require an office visit. 

But while epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks can provide significant pain relief, they work in very different ways. 

How nerve blocks work

With a nerve block injection, we can deliver numbing agents anywhere along the spine. More specifically, we deliver the medication to nerves where they branch out of the spinal cord. 

These treatments usually involve delivering numbing agents to a specific nerve, and once the medication takes effect, it should soothe the irritation and block pain signals from going to your brain. This approach makes it highly effective for numerous types of nerve pain, such as:

Since nerve block injections involve numbing agents, you can usually have regular injections throughout your treatment plan. It’s also safe for them to be part of a long-term pain management strategy.

How epidural steroid injections work

We also administer epidural steroid injections along the spine. However, we deliver these injections into the epidural space. This fat-filled area lies just beyond the protective membrane outside of your spinal cord and surrounding nerves. 

When you have an epidural steroid injection, we inject anti-inflammatory medications into the epidural space near the nerve roots causing your symptoms. This targeted approach helps reduce inflammation to manage pain, and it can also identify the nerve root causing your discomfort.

We often recommend epidural steroid injections for painful nerve-related conditions, such as:

Unlike nerve blocks, you can only have a specific number of injections — usually no more than 3-4 a year — due to the steroid medication involved. However, they can provide several months of pain relief.

At Valley Pain Centers, with two convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix and Peoria, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. We have experienced physicians who can help you, including Patricia Henthorn, DC, DAAMUAP and Norvan Vartevan, DO. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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