The thoracic spine is the mid to upper area of the back, in between the cervical (neck) area of the spine and the lumbar (lower) area of the spine.
A thoracic epidural steroid injection is intended to relieve pain that originates in the upper back. This pain can be due to several conditions, including:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Arthritis of the spine
- Spinal stenosis
The patient will lie face down during the procedure and will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area of the injection. The pain doctor will use a fluoroscope (x-ray) to determine that they are in the correct epidural space for the injection. Once this is confirmed, the injection consisting of a pain relieving medication and a steroid medication will be administered, and the area will be bandaged. After a short recovery, the patient will be allowed to return home.
The injection is intended to relieve pain due to inflammation, and most patients experience relief of symptoms within three to five days following the injection. If needed, injections may be repeated for better pain management.