Carolinas HealthCare System

Sports Medicine & Injury Care
Spine Injections: A Non-Surgical Solution for Back Pain
A Solution for Back Pain

Sports Medicine & Injury Care offers next-day appointment scheduling

To schedule an appointment with Sports Medicine & Injury Care call 704-863-HURT or visit our website.

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Anyone can experience back pain: high school athletes, parents who carry small children, people who were in car accidents, senior citizens and others. “It can happen to people at all levels of activity,” said Thomas Jackson, MD, a physiatrist with Sports Medicine & Injury Care at Carolinas HealthCare System.

When back pain doesn’t respond to anti-inflammatory medication, acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic treatments, there’s another option before surgery: spine injections. The board-certified physicians at Sports Medicine & Injury Care specialize in this non-surgical treatment option.

“If conservative measures have failed so far, you could be a candidate for this procedure,” said Dr. Jackson. “We’re trying to assist the body’s own healing mechanisms.”

 A Variety of Options
Different spinal injections are designed to relieve different types of pain:

  • Epidural steroid injections are used when patients experience back or neck pain that extends into the arms or legs, such as a pinched nerve or sciatica.
  • Spinal blocks are a specific type of epidural injection that surrounds a painful nerve with local anesthetic.
  • Facet joint injections are helpful for patients with arthritis, sprains or strains.
  • Facet medial branch blocks are performed to ensure that doctors target the proper part of the spine. They’re usually followed by radiofrequency ablation.
  • Radiofrequency ablation disrupts the nerves that are causing pain for longer-term relief.
  • Sacroiliac joint injections primarily target lower back or buttock pain.

What to Expect
Spinal injection procedures take about 15 minutes. Patients receive a local anesthetic, and the doctor uses X-ray guidance (called fluoroscopy) to ensure that the needle is placed in the proper spot. “The X-ray gives the outline of bony landmarks, and we can see the outline of the needle,” Dr. Jackson said.

Different injections are placed higher or lower on the spine, depending on a patient’s pain. Some patients receive more than one injection at a time for greater relief.

Optimal Outcomes
Spinal injections often provide long-term pain relief. “We try to get four months’ relief from an injection, or a years’ worth from radiofrequency ablation,” Dr. Jackson said.

Get Back in Business
Dr. Jackson or one of our other board-certified physicians at Sports Medicine & Injury Care can diagnose and treat your back pain. Eight Sports Medicine & Injury Care centers are conveniently located throughout the community and offer next-day appointment scheduling. To schedule an appointment, call 704-863-HURT or visit our website.

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