The membrane that covers the spinal cord and nerve roots in your spine is called the dural membrane. The space surrounding the dura is the epidural space. Nerves travel through the epidural space to your back and into your legs. Inflammation of these nerve roots may cause pain in these regions due to irritation from a damaged disc (disc protrusion/herniation) or from contact in some way with the bony structure of the spine (spinal stenosis).
What is an Epidural Steroid Injection?
An epidural steroid injection places anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space to decrease inflammation of the nerve roots, hopefully reducing the pain in your back or legs. The epidural steroid injection may help the injury to heal by reducing inflammation. It may provide permanent relief, or provide a period of pain relief for several months while the injury or cause of your pain is healing.
How Does the Epidural Steroid Injection Work?
An IV may be be started so that relaxation medication can be given. You will be placed lying on your stomach on the X-ray table and positioned in such a way that your doctor can best visualize your back using X-ray guidance. The skin on your back will be scrubbed using a cleaning solution. Next, the physician will numb a small area of skin on your low back with numbing medicine. This medicine stings for several seconds. After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, your doctor will direct a small needle using X-ray guidance into the epidural space.
A small amount of contrast (dye) is then injected to ensure proper needle position in the epidural space. Then, a mixture of anesthetic medicine and anti-inflammatory steroid will be injected. After the procedure you will go back to the recovery area, where you will be monitored for a short period of time. You may be given a follow-up appointment for the Clinic or a repeat block if indicated. You will not be able to drive the day of your procedure if you received sedation.