Discopathy is a disease in which the outer ring of the intervertebral discs of the spine is torn, and the soft central part is deformed and “settles” in the spinal canal, pressing the structures that are in it.
Furthermore, if the intervertebral discs are deformed, this not only causes quite severe pain, but if the disease is not treated, it can cause even greater problems of the musculoskeletal system.
Treatment for discopathy is aimed at reducing or eliminating pain and “relaxing” the pinched nerves, and may include oral medications, wearing discopathy belts, exercise, injections, and other alternative treatments.
As a standard, pharmaceuticals used to treat a herniated disc have both oral and injectable forms of administration. The composition of the two forms is the same, and the difference comes from the fact that when following a course of treatment with injections, the drug is absorbed faster by the body, the pain subsides faster, and the negative effects on the stomach are much smaller than with oral medications.
Discopathy injections are prescribed to decrease the pain and, depending on the doctor’s prescription, may be given:
- Intramuscularly (injection is given near the center of inflammation or in the buttocks);
- Epidurally (injection is given directly in the center of the inflammation).
What should not be forgotten is that injections for discopathy should not be given without a doctor’s prescription, as each group of drugs has a different form of release, functionality, and drug composition.
Classification of drugs in the form of injections used to reduce the pain of a herniated disc
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory injections
This type of injection manages the pain perfectly and relieves swelling around the tissues. Non-steroidal drugs are prescribed for intramuscular injection and are administered only with a doctor’s prescription once the exact frequency and dosage of the drug are determined.
Some of the most popular and prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and injections for discopathy are:
This type of injection cannot be given to patients who have conditions such as tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, stomach bleeding, kidney failure, or liver disease, or to women who are pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Chondroitin-based discopathy injections are prescribed for a longer course of treatment. Chondroptotector drugs are very effective because they nourish cartilage, slow down its destruction, and help its recovery.
The injection is given intramuscularly, and therapy can be continued (if necessary) for more than a month. This type of injection works immediately, and their effectiveness depends on how long the course of treatment lasts. They are especially effective in discopathy, degenerative changes in articular cartilage, arthritis, and similar conditions.
Chondroprotective intramuscular drugs are administered only after a doctor’s prescription and are purchased with the prescription.
Some of the most effective chondroprotectors are:
The effectiveness of treatment with chondroprotective injections is due to the active substance “chondroitin sulfate” contained in them, which acts as a kind of lubricant for the osteoarthritis system.
Injections of this group are given according to a schedule developed by the doctor and taking into account the condition and degree of the patient’s disease.
Steroid drugs from the anti-inflammatory group SPPG
Corticosteroid-based injections have antispasmodic and analgesic effects and are prescribed to patients who experience very severe pain. Pain relief comes almost instantly, but unfortunately this type of injection has a long list of unwanted side effects.
Steroid medications are only available with a prescription and are used for a very short course of treatment.
Examples of steroid injections for discopathy are:
Spasms in the back and lower back go hand in hand with discopathy and affect patients with disc herniation. To alleviate this condition, muscle relaxation injections come to the rescue.
The so-called muscle relaxants are prescribed by a doctor and are purchased after the prescription has been issued. They are administered intramuscularly and are quite effective in reducing spasms caused by problems in the musculoskeletal system. In addition, this type of medication improves blood flow and reduces inflammatory processes.
This group of drugs refers to fast-acting painkillers and patients find relief almost immediately (up to 5 – 10 minutes) after the injection.
Among the most effective muscle relaxants that are available in the form of injections are:
It is important to know that muscle relaxants have many contraindications and cannot be used during pregnancy or lactation, or if the patient suffers from mental disorders or has diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, ulcers and gastritis, or kidney or liver failure.
In very severe stages of discopathy, when the pain is so severe that nothing else can reduce it, injections are prescribed that have the ability to block the pain.
The drug is injected locally, directly into the affected area. Because the procedure is very delicate, epidural injections are given only by a very experienced doctor, and the most popular epidural medications are Novocaine and Lidocaine.
Treatment with epidural injections is characterized by high efficacy regardless of the individual characteristics of the patient and the degree of the disease. The great popularity of the treatment comes from the following advantages:
- due to the direct injection in the affected area of the spine, immediate cessation of both pain and inflammation is achieved, followed by a rapid reduction in swelling
- compared to other types of injections for discopathy, epidural drugs do not have many contraindications, which makes them applicable in more patients
Vitamin group injections
Vitamin complexes that are used in patients with discopathy are designed to improve nerve conduction and support the regenerative processes of bone and cartilage tissue.
The vitamins are injected intramuscularly and the course of treatment lasts from 7 to 15 days. Among the most prescribed drugs are Vitaxon and Vitamol.
Infusion therapy is classification among the disc herniation injections because it is given intravenously. This type of treatment is prescribed in the early stages of discopathy or for patients who have no other option to receive medication in any other way.
Intravenous therapy uses a drug solution that is slowly infused into the patient’s body using a catheter. The drug flows into the blood and from there spreads throughout the body, relieving pain and reducing inflammatory processes caused by discopathy.
Medications most often used for intravenous infusion therapy are:
- Analgesics (paracetamol or analgin) to relieve pain;
- Vinpocetine (helps blood circulation and blocks inflammatory processes);
- Actovegin (reduces pain in the nerve endings).
What do orthopedists and physiotherapists recommend?
Discopathy is a disease that should not be underestimated in any way, so at the first sign of problems it is good to visit a specialist. In the early stages of the disease, the condition can be alleviated without resorting to injections.
Various other types of medications can be found on the market, which when combined with specially developed exercises by a physiotherapist can bring lasting relief.
A good outcome is also achieved if you combine exercise, wearing belts for discopathy, and injections.
Discopathy injections are recommended if everything else has been tried and failed. But even then, only the attending physician can prescribe a course of treatment must be is strictly followed to have the desired effect.
Under no circumstances should the injection treatment be carried out on its own and without consultation with a specialist who will prescribe the correct medication and dosage.
Read also Injection for discopathy – part II.