Why Do I Need an Epidural Injection?
When symptoms of pain are the result of spinal problems an epidural injection may be considered. The pain may be the result of an injury, an accident, surgery, or normal age related degeneration of the spine. The pain can present in the neck (Cervical Spine), mid back (Thoracic Spine) or the low back (Lumbar Spine). Different approaches can be used to inject into the spine (Transforaminal, Caudal, Intralaminar). Typically, epidural steroid injections are most commonly used to treat disc herniations, spinal stenosis or narrowing spinal column.
How Does an Epidural Injection Work?
When the spine is injured, diseased or degenerated, mechanical and chemical changes can cause inflammation, swelling and irritation of the nerve. The injection of a numbing medication (local anesthetic) or saline combined with a steroid can be used to reduce the inflammation. The injection treatment may be done in a series of injections. If relief is not obtained after two injections other treatment options are usually considered.
How Is an Epidural Injection Performed?
A number of different approaches are used to perform epidural steroid injections depending upon the specific problem that you have. You may or may not receive sedation. During this procedure the patient is positioned on an x-ray table. The skin is then frozen with a local anesthetic and the needle is inserted into the proper position. Fluoroscopy is used to place the needle precisely. The injection is then performed.
What Are the Potential Risks with an Epidural Injection?
As with any invasive procedure there is the risk of infection and bleeding at the injection site. There is also a chance of experiencing a spinal headache.
What Should I expect Following This Procedure?
In most patients, pain relief will be noted in 2-7 days. It is common to have localized pain at the site of the injection for 1-5 days. There may be an increase in low back and leg pain until the steroids take effect and pain relief is experienced.