Epidural Steroid Injections
What is an epidural steroid injection?
Epidural steroid injections are administered to give a person relief from lower back, neck, or leg pain and have been in use since 1952. They are often one part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. A solution containing a steroid and a local anesthetic is injected into the spine to reduce inflammation, which helps to reduce pain. Pain relief may last from a week up to a year.
What are the risks and side effects of an epidural steroid injection?
The risks associated with epidural steroid injections are rare but should be discussed with your doctor before the procedure. They include: temporary numbness of the bowels and bladder, infection, dural puncture, bleeding, and nerve damage. Possible side effects include: temporary headache, facial flushing, anxiety, insomnia, temporary fever, high blood sugar, stomach ulcers, and cataracts.
What are the benefits of having an epidural steroid injection?
Pain relief is usually more effective when combined with physical therapy.
- When the steroid solution is placed properly in the spine, more than 50% of patients experience some pain relief.
- Success rates are higher in people receiving an epidural steroid injection for leg pain vs. those receiving an epidural steroid injection for back or neck pain.
- Pain relief from epidural steroid injections can improve a person’s mental health and quality of life, reduce the need for painkiller medications, and possibly delay or avoid the need for surgery.
How do I prepare for this type of procedure?
Preparation instructions will vary depending on whether or not a sedative is used, so it’s important to follow the directions given by your doctor.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.