Epidural Steroid Injection Q & A

What is an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection is a form of minimally invasive therapy for patients who have back pain that isn’t improving despite following a treatment program.

There’s a layer of tissue covering your spinal cord and the nerves called the dural membrane. Around the dural membrane is a space called the epidural space. The nerves that exit your spine into your back and travel down your legs go through this epidural space.

Irritation of the nerves can arise due to conditions such as:

  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Arthritis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Sciatica

The nerve irritation causes inflammation and pain, and may also cause sensory problems like tingling, prickling, or burning sensations.

How does an epidural steroid injection work?

An epidural steroid injection contains anti-inflammatory medication, which targets the nerves in your back that are responsible for the pain. The injection also contains a local anesthetic to give you temporary relief from your pain.

As well as being anti-inflammatory, steroids can help heal injured tissues. Reducing inflammation for several months can give the original injury time to heal, relieving you of chronic pain for several months or even for good in some cases.

What happens when I have an epidural steroid injection?

Your provider at Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine® gives you a sedative through an intravenous line in your arm, so you feel calm and sleepy.

You lie on your front on an X-ray table, and your provider cleans your skin and injects a local anesthetic to numb the area. The injection might sting a little at first, but you soon go numb.

Using X-ray technology, your provider guides a small needle into the epidural space in your back. They inject a dye called a contrast medium that shows up on the X-ray, ensuring the accurate placement of the injection.

Once your provider administers the epidural steroid injection, you go to the recovery room, where staff monitors you to make sure you’re coming round from the sedative properly.

You can go home once you recover from your sedative, but you won’t be able to drive, so make sure you have transport arranged.

Epidural steroid injections are one of an extensive range of highly specialized injectable treatments provided by Optimal Pain & Regenerative Medicine®. To find out more about all your treatment options for chronic pain, call the practice today, or book an appointment online.