Spinal injections are used for both pain relief and to diagnose the source of a patient’s symptoms. The injections are a combination of local anaesthetic and steroid and can be administered under sedation if requested. The local anaesthetic provides immediate pain relief and the steroid has a more long lasting anti-inflammatory action. They are performed in the operating theatre as a day case procedure.

The two most common types of injections are nerve root blocks – to numb a compressed nerve, and facet joint injections – which can be used to identify and treat pain due to facet joint degeneration.

At a follow up clinic appointment, the key question to answer is how much symptom improvement was obtained and for how long. Patients can be disappointed that the injection only lasted for a short duration, but if it treated all the symptoms – it would suggest that surgery to this target would have a good outcome.