Back pain is sometimes treated with a therapeutic remedy called Epidural Steroid Injection. This is commonly referred to as a nerve block. Steroid injections may also be used to decrease the inflammation and irritation to that nerve.
Anesthetic is injected directly into the area of the affected nerve in the back. This interrupts the transmission of the pain signal to the brain. If the pain signal does not get to the brain, then pain is not actually felt or perceived by the patient.
Steroid injections may also be used instead of anesthetic to decrease the inflammation and irritation to that nerves that may be causing the back pain. Fluoroscopy (the use of a live x-ray during operations) is usually used to help the specialist guide the needle into the exact location. The frequency of the therapeutic nerve blocks depends primarily on how effective they are in reducing pain for the individual patient.
Epidural steroid injections are used as a first line treatment in acute disc herniations in an effort to avoid surgery.