What is an epidural injection?
A combination of a corticosteroid and local anesthetic medicine injected into the epidural space of the spinal canal and nerve roots.
What is the purpose of an epidural steroid injection?
The corticosteroid works to reduce nerve inflammation and swelling in the epidural space. Other symptoms may be relieved by way of the epidural steroid injection including pain, numbness, and tingling.
What conditions could benefit from epidural steroid injections?
An epidural steroid injection can be used to manage spinal problems and chronic pain conditions. These may include a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis.
How is the epidural injection performed?
To start, a nurse may give the patient an IV with sedative medicine. The IV is made up of Versed and Fentanyl medication. The two act as a sedative, allowing the patient to relax and receive temporary pain relief during the procedure. An American Spine physician will then clean the procedural area and insert a needle through the skin and into the tissues. Under fluoroscopic guidance, the physician will guide the needle into the epidural space and inject the medication.
After the injection procedure, a nurse will monitor the patient for 20 minutes before being discharged.
What are the side effects and risks?
Some side affects of an epidural steroid injection include bleeding, infection, Dural puncture, and nerve damage. American Spine physicians perform every injection under sterile conditions and with extreme precision, reducing the risk of complications.
How long will the pain relief last?
The steroid will take effect within 24-72 hours. The patient may experience some pain immediately after the injection, but it should subside within a couple of days. The benefits of the injection could last for several weeks or up to a year. Some patients will need multiple injections, usually three injections each year.
What should I do if I don't feel any pain relief?
If the epidural steroid injection has not provided any pain relief, the source of pain may be radiating from another part of the body. Your American Spine physician may recommend further testing or diagnostic injections to determine where the source of pain is and what treatments will help provide adequate relief.