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What is a Back Injection?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Back injections are the introduction of medication into some area of the back through means of an injection involving a sterile needle. Injections of this type are used when the condition of the patient requires immediate introduction of the medication to the affected area. Often, the use of some type of back injection will provide relief much faster than oral medications, a factor that can be very important when there is a great deal of pain and inflammation present.

There are several different types of injections for various back problems. One of the more common is known as an epidural. Often utilized in preparation for childbirth, an epidural involves the injection of anesthetic directly into the epidural space of the spine, effectively blocking the pain. Terminal patients are sometimes given epidurals that provide a steady supply of painkillers, allowing them to live out their last days without experiencing a great deal of discomfort.

Another example of a back injection is the facet joint block. This particular injection serves a both a treatment and as a test. The process involves injecting some type of local anesthetic into the facet joint, or branches of small nerves connected with the joint. If the pain disappears, then the physician knows the origin of the back pain is in or around the facet joint block. Further injections can be used to minimize pain as treatment progresses.

In a similar manner, a back injection known as a facet rhizotomy also uses an anesthetic to prevent pain signals from running to and from the brain. Cutting off this line of communication may be necessary both for maintaining some quality of life as well as preparing the patient for eventually undergoing some type of back surgery, once he or she is physically strong enough to do so. A back injection of this type tends to be longer lasting than some other modes of treatment, with the effects providing relief for anywhere from a few months to a few years.

The selective nerve root block, or SNRB, is a back injection that directs a flow of anesthetics and anti-inflammatory drugs into the sleeve that surrounds spinal nerves. The deadening effect can help decrease the level of pain significantly. At the same time, the anti-inflammatory medication helps to relieve some of the irritation and swelling that may be present around the nerves.

For situations involving the lower back and the pelvis, a back injection known as a sacroiliac joint block is sometimes employed. The injection helps to identify the presence of some type of malfunction in the area were the bottom portion of the spine connected with the hip or pelvis. Further injections can be used to minimize pain, providing effective relief while a more permanent solution for the health problem is sought.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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