If you suffer from back pain or neck pain and come to us for help, you can rest assured that we try to use the most effective but least invasive therapy appropriate for your condition and goals. That’s why we have both neurosurgeons and physiatrists in our practice to offer comprehensive spine options, including spine surgery, injection therapy, and rehabilitation. Although our neurosurgeons have always teamed with pain specialists and rehabilitation experts, we now have two physiatrists within our practice — Erasmus G. Morfe, D.O., and Jason Peragine, M.D. — who provide nonsurgical treatments to help reduce pain, restore function and improve quality of life.
If a patient comes to our practice having already tried medication and physical therapy, the next step might be spinal injections. Spinal injections can be used before or after spine surgery, or sometimes can help patients avoid spine surgery.
Injection Therapy Before Spine Surgery
Drs. Morfe and Peragine offer two main types of spinal injections at Neurosurgery One:
- Diagnostic injections help narrow down where exactly a patient’s pain is stemming from, as spinal pain tends to radiate. For example, the pain a patient feels extending down their leg could actually be coming from a pinched nerve in their lower back.
- Therapeutic injections use steroids to reduce inflammation in the spine with the goal of providing enough pain relief for patients to participate in physical therapy. If therapeutic injection is successful, it’s possible to delay spine surgery or even avoid it altogether.
“Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how much relief someone will get from an injection,” Dr. Morfe says. “The injection could work for a short time, it could be semi-permanent or it might not work at all. Everybody’s different, so we can’t put a timeline or an expiration date on it.”
Even if injection therapy isn’t successful in providing a patient pain relief long-term, it can provide valuable diagnostic information to the patient’s neurosurgeon.
“We always start with a diagnostic workup that includes testing and a physical exam. Then we can try different types of injections. If the patient is still having pain, then we send them over to one of our surgical colleagues,” Dr. Morfe says. “And that will be a much more fruitful appointment because there’s already some information for the surgeon to look at. That will help them determine if surgery will be appropriate and what area needs to be operated on.”
Injection Therapy After Spine Surgery
Spine surgery is highly successful at providing pain relief and increased mobility. But not all patients feel completely better right away afterward. If a patient is still having pain after spine surgery, Drs. Morfe and Peragine may use injection therapy once again.
“We can help determine if the site is still flared up from the surgery or if one area was operated on and now there’s pain in a different area,” Dr. Morfe says. “We can use injections to try and cool things down or provide residual pain relief.”
Can You Skip Straight to Spine Surgery?
Often patients will be referred directly to a neurosurgeon to treat their back pain. But don’t expect a Neurosurgery One surgeon to operate on you before exhausting all conservative treatment options. Our goal is to restore your quality of life with the least invasive treatment possible. Either way, it’s nice to know you can get all of your spine treatment in one place.