Anyone of any age can suffer from neck and back pain. When this happens, some sort of treatment is necessary because without it, a person cannot function normally. Many patients contact us asking about a cortisone injection. This is sometimes also known as cortizone injection or cortizone epidural injection. Cortisone or cortizone is the general lay term encompassing a large number of substances known as corticosteroids. These steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, not to be confused with another group of chemically related substances: the anabolic steroids which are used (sometimes illegally) for protein and muscle build up. Examples of corticosteroid anti-inflammatory substances frequently used in pain medicine are: dexametasone, triamcinolone, methylprednisolone and many others. Some patients think a “cortisone injection” is a pain reliever, but in fact these substances are primarily used to reduce inflammation. The pain is reduced when the inflammation subsides due to the injection. Indirect activity of cortisone injections in relieving pain are also due to the fact that these substances also act on damaged nerves that carry pain signals decreasing their firing rate. Their effects may vary from person to person and is disease dependant. Thus, on one hand they can have limited effects in some people or they can, on the other hand, provide relief for months, even years, if used properly.
At St. Michael’s Pain and Spine Clinics, some specific forms of lower back pain, as well as upper back pain, can be treated with corticosteroid injections (“a cortisone injection”). While our staff of professional physicians will look into finding the best treatment options available for your ailment, sometimes an injection containing corticosteroids is used with success.
We are committed to finding the right treatment for your specific condition, so our staff will spend time with you, making sure you understand any and all aspects of the treatment available. Each person is different, so their treatment can be different as well. What works for one person, may not work for another. Also, people experience different types of pain. Lower back pain and leg pain (sciatica) require different kinds of treatments, depending on which mechanism is at play. Similar or sometimes almost identical symptoms can have different causes.
We generally treat the pain using minimally modalities targeting the pain generators, aiming at avoiding open surgery whenever possible. For example, minute skin puncture is utilized to remove a portion of a herniated disc that is pinching a spinal nerve. A cement is injected into a fracture vertebra that has collapsed due to trauma or osteoporosis. Cortocosteroids (cortisone injection) can be delivered to inflamed areas of the spine or joints to relieve inflammation and help, in certain instances, to avoid surgery.
Dr. Miguel Pappolla serves as the clinics’ director. He is board certified in Pain Medicine, Anatomic Pathology, Neurology, Clinical Pathology and Neuropathology. Dr. Pappolla has also Fellowship trained in (Anesthesia-based) Interventional Pain Management. In addition, he teaches and constantly researches treatment plans that work for his patients.
In addition to treating back and neck pain, Dr. Pappolla also treats some less common pain conditions like atypical facial pain, complex regional pain syndrome and cranial neuropathies. For more information on back and neck pain treatments, contact our offices today for an appointment at 832-448-0706.