Spinal Injections

Spinal injections are concentrated on pain, and can either be diagnostic or more commonly therapeutic. Most spinal injections are used to treat pain in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral spine. If you’re experiencing pain in your back leg, neck, or arm, Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates can help you find out if spinal injections are the right treatment for you.

Types of Spinal Injections

There are four types of spinal injections: epidural, facet joint, sacroiliac, and provocation diskography.

Epidural injections are usually for a pinched nerve that is inflamed and is radiating pain from the spine to an arm or leg. To treat, an anesthetic and steroid, such as cortisone, is injected as an anti-inflammatory to lessen the pain. Diagnostically, an epidural can be injected at a specific nerve to determine if it is the source of the pain.

Facet joint injections are used when pain is caused by either a degenerative or arthritic condition and sometimes injury. They treat neck, middle back, or low back pain that can radiate into the buttocks or shoulder blades. To diagnose, an anesthetic is injected into the nerve and then either a steroid or radiofrequency ablation if the nerve is determined to be the source of the pain.

Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections are similar to facet joint injections, but the SI joint is located in the lower back and pelvis causing pain that is typically local to one side of the body. The joint is anesthetized for diagnosis and then followed by a steroid injection to relieve the pain.

Diskography is only performed if surgery is being considered. It involves stimulating and pressurizing a disk by injecting a liquid into it to diagnose a problem.


When a performing a spinal injection, fluoroscopy is used to provide x-ray guidance to ensure that the correct tissue, joint, or nerve is being targeted so that the procedure is performed safely.  This means that before the procedure begins, the patient is also injected with a liquid contrast.

The patient will not be given the spinal injection until the flow of the contrast is correct since that is what’s guiding the actual injection.

Who is A Good Candidate?

You should not have spinal injections if:

  • There’s a skin infection around the injection site.
  • You have a bleeding disorder or anticoagulation.
  • You have uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • You are allergic to contrast, anesthetics, or steroids.

What’s The Next Step?

Contact us at Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates to schedule a consultation so we can help get you on a path to a happier, healthier quality of life.

Doctors Who Perform This Procedure

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