Like many males, I think that I am still in my twenties. I ski, climb and bike with that in my mind. However, the reality is simply quite different.

After my latest day of hard skiing, I developed some back pain, which despite stretching and the Tylenol/ Motrin combination did not go away. I kept at it and eventually the back pain did not, as in the past just disappear on its own. The pain became so severe that I tried an epidural injection.

An epidural injection is where a trained medical specialist under direct fluoroscopy injects a small amount of local anesthetic and steroid near an inflamed nerve in the back. Before doing the epidural however, an MRI should be done to identify the nerve and to make sure nothing else is going on.

There are of course potential side effects including nerve damage, worsening pain and infection.

Most of the time the epidural is successful and even in the case of slipped discs, can stave off the pain long off enough so that slipped disc is reabsorbed by the body. This can avoid surgery, which is a good thing.

The epidural can be repeated in a few months if the pain recurs, but like most things in life, it should not be repeated too often.