Epidural Steroid Injections Q & A
What are Epidural Steroid Injections?
Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that deliver fast relief from swelling and related pain. Your epidural space is the area in your spine between your vertebral wall and the dural sac that surrounds your nerves as they travel through your spine. Your epidural space is filled with blood vessels and fatty tissue that cushion and protect your spinal cord.
An epidural steroid injection delivers a potent anti-inflammatory to your epidural space to reduce swelling that compresses your spinal cord and causes pain and other disruptive symptoms.
What Conditions Can an Epidural Steroid Injection Treat?
The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center recommend epidural steroid injections to relieve pain caused by a wide range of injuries and conditions, including:
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone spurs
- Ligament damage
While an epidural steroid injection doesn’t heal the underlying cause of your pain, it typically provides pain relief to keep you comfortable while you go through additional treatments to heal your body. For example, you’ll get more out of physical therapy if you’re not in severe pain.
What Happens During an Epidural Steroid Injection?
Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure. You wear a surgical gown and lie on your side on an X-ray table. Your doctor prepares you for the injection with a local anesthetic at your injection site. You stay awake throughout the procedure, although you might be given a mild sedative to keep you relaxed and comfortable.
Then using a fluoroscope, a special type of X-ray, your doctor inserts a needle into the epidural space of your spine. They inject a combination of a numbing agent and a steroid. The numbing agent provides immediate relief while the steroid takes effect. You might feel some pressure during the injection, but the local anesthetic should prevent you from feeling any pain.
What Should I Expect After an Epidural Steroid Injection?
While you can get up and walk around right away, you’ll spend 15-20 minutes in a recovery room after your injection so your doctor can observe you as your local anesthetic wears off. The steroid can take up to three days to reduce the swelling in your spine and ease or eliminate your pain.
Call Comprehensive Pain Center to find out if epidural steroid injections are right for you.