Epidural Steroid Injection
What are Epidural Steroid Injections?
Epidural steroid injections are performed when there is pain coming from your discs in the cervical (neck), thoracic (midback), or lumbar (lower back) spine. These injections can be effective when there is some degree of inflammation in the spine causing the pain. Commonly, these disc problems cause not only back pain, but pain radiating into the extremities
What do Epidural Steroid Injections Treat?
Epidural steroids can be effective for any spinal condition associated with spinal inflammation. These include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal pain after surgery (post-laminectomy syndrome)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canals)
- Herniated or bulging discs
How do Epidural Steroid Injections work?
The injection contains anti-inflammatory medications including steroids that are placed directly within the sheath surrounding the affected nerve, at the level of the spine targeted for injection. Usually, this level is identified by clinical symptoms, as well as by imaging tests such as MRI. These injections need to be performed using Fluoroscopy X-ray guidance to insure safe and effective placement of the needle at the target site.
What should I expect from Epidural Steroid Injections?
The injection will be performed using the fluoroscopy X-ray. Often, an IV will be started to deliver a small amount of sedating medication. Local anesthesia will numb the needle pathway from skin to the target site, but often when the medication is injected around the inflamed nerve root there will be a pressure or burning sensation that can go to the extremity. This will only last for a few moments. Typically, relief from the injection will gradually increase over several days to several weeks.