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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.
The key to our physical therapy program is to train your muscles to keep the spine in a neutral pain-free position. This entails trunk stabilization exercises for the low back and chest-out posture exercises for the neck and upper back. The basic concept is for the muscles to prevent abnormal motion and to offload pathologic discs and facet joints of the spine.
This is the same program that we use to treat professional athletes from all over the world. We refer our local patients to trusted therapists from Bakersfield to San Diego. The trunk stabilization program is the most effective way to avoid surgery, and to get a good result after surgery.
It is important to begin the exercise program under the supervision of a trained therapist who can instruct and ensure proper positioning and mechanics. Our entire program can eventually be performed by the patient alone with a few simple weights, pulleys, and exercise ball. The trunk stabilization program is the best way that you can treat yourself, for the rest of your life!
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