Spinal infiltration

Spinal infiltration or pain therapy to the back is used in a wide variety of pathological changes in the spine (herniation, arthritis, nerve entrapment, narrow spinal canal). Rest assured, you’re in good hands – our physicians have more than fifteen years of experience and perform five hundred infiltrations a year.

Your physician will use the recommended treatment when other medical treatments do not deliver the desired outcome. Infiltration is performed under local anaesthesia, so it’s like a jab at the dentist.


  • The actual procedure takes about twenty minutes, but plan in around an hour for preparation and detailed patient’s briefing with the doctor.

  • You can return home or to work immediately after treatment.

  • You don’t necessarily need to bring someone with you, but we would recommend it.

  • Treatment requires that you can lie completely on your stomach; have your doctor prescribe enough pain medication.

  • Stop taking any drugs that affect blood clotting such as Marcumar, Sintrom, Plavix, or aspirin several days before infiltration; ask your doctor for details.

Treatment is performed with you lying on your front for lumbar or thoracic spinal complaints, or on your back with your head turned to one side for treatment on the cervical spine in your neck.

Cortisone, an anaesthetic, sterile sodium chloride solution, or a contrast agent containing iodine may be administered for infiltration, depending on the nature of your symptoms. Pain relief will set in immediately or after up to forty-eight hours depending on your particular case and the drugs used; more than two-thirds of patients say that their pain is significantly less or completely gone after infiltration treatment, but repeated infiltration treatment may be necessary under certain circumstances.

Treatment procedure

The treatment is performed under strict sterile conditions. The part of your body to be treated is imaged using computed tomography, and marked out on your skin. After that, we will give you a local anaesthetic to the skin and muscles, then administer the drug gradually using a very fine needle under repeated CT control.

Adverse effects and complications of treatment

Although we use cortisone in the smallest possible quantities, cortisone treatment may lead to unwanted side effects in the short term. These include:

  • Increase in blood pressure

  • Increase in the blood sugar levels in diabetics

  • Menstrual irregularities in women

  • Temporary redness to the head and neck

  • Slight palpitations

These reactions will subside on their own after two or three days. Talk to your doctor beforehand if you have ever experienced any of these side effects before.

Allergies may occur in response to the contrast agent used or to local anaesthetics, but these are thankfully very rare and easily treated.