Epidural Steroid Injection

Those with neck, arm, back and leg pain, caused by inflamed spinal nerves, can potentially receive relief from an epidural steroid injection.

 
 

Those who suffer from chronic pain in the neck, arms, back or legs, due to inflamed spinal nerves, could benefit from an epidural steroid injection which is delivered to the spinal nerve through the epidural space. Depending on the individual, the level of pain and the area of the pain, the pain relief from an epidural steroid injection could last for days, years, or anything in between. The primary goal of an epidural steroid injection is to relieve the pain to the extent the patient is able to begin a physical therapy program and resume their normal, day-to-day activities.  

What Medications are Used in an Epidural Steroid Injection?

Epidural steroid injections include a numbing agent such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, and a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. Although the epidural steroid injection does flush out the proteins causing the inflammation, it does not decrease the size of a herniated disc. The pain relief, however, can allow the condition of the spine to improve through a strengthening exercise program. If you have one of the following conditions, you might benefit from an epidural steroid injection:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolysis
  • Sciatica
  • Degenerative disc disease

Risks Associated with Epidural Steroid Injections

Those who have an infection or a bleeding problem should not choose an epidural steroid injection as a method of pain relief. Those with diabetes could find an epidural steroid injection elevates blood sugar, and an epidural steroid injection can, among some patients, elevate blood pressure and eye pressure among those with glaucoma. If you are currently taking a blood-thinning medication, you should stop taking the medication several days prior to receiving your epidural steroid injection.  Doctors sometimes use epidural steroid injections as a means of determining whether a surgical procedure could be the next step in the quest for relief from pain.

The Process of an Epidural Steroid Injection

You will be asked to lie face down on an x-ray table, then a local anesthetic will numb the area to be treated. You will remain awake and alert during the procedures, and a low dosage of Valium or another anti-anxiety drug may be given to you prior to the procedure. A fluoroscope will be used to direct a hollow needle between the bony vertebrae into the epidural space, where the steroid medication will be delivered as closely to the inflamed nerve root as possible. Patients typically report they feel more pressure than pain. While most people feel at least some pain relief, those who experienced only mild pain relief may have one or two more injections at 1-4 week intervals to achieve full pain relief.  

Are you suffering from neck, arm, or back pain?

Contact Our Pain Management Specialists

At Seattle Pain, an epidural steroid injection may be able to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the illness or injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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