- Patient Portal
- Contact Us
Epidural steroid injections (ESI) are a standard, minimally invasive procedure that has been used for decades. These injections are a conservative, non-surgical treatment option for pain in the cervical and lumbar spine. ESIs help decrease the inflammation around your nerves in order to ease pain and discomfort and, in turn, help improve your quality of life and comfort.
While everyone is different, you should consider an epidural injection if you are experiencing lower back or neck pain, pressure on your sciatic nerve or pain traveling down your legs or into your arms.
You may be a good candidate for an epidural steroid injection if you have been dealing with ongoing neck or lower back pain for more than six weeks or have one of the following conditions:
Since these injections can provide long-term relief, they are an excellent treatment option for the above conditions. If you aren’t sure what condition your back pain is linked to, consult with a spinal specialist. They will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and decide whether or not an ESI is the right treatment method for you.
The entire procedure for an epidural steroid injection takes about 10 minutes. ESIs are an outpatient procedure, performed under a live X-Ray (fluoroscopy). During this procedure, a local anesthetic and corticosteroid are injected into an epidural space around the nerve roots and spinal cord while you are lying on your stomach.
The typical steps involved in an epidural steroid injection procedure include:
You may experience mild burning, a tingling sensation or a feeling of pressure as the steroid enters the epidural space. This discomfort will usually disappear within a few minutes.
Most patients can walk around and leave the facility shortly after the procedure. While it is rare, you could potentially experience temporary weakness or numbness in the leg afterward. So, it is best to have someone drive you home.
An epidural steroid injection usually provides immediate pain relief, but it may take up to two weeks for the steroids to take full effect. Patients typically have a full range of motion and can resume regular activity the day after their procedure. If you are experiencing any soreness around the injection site, a mild analgesic like Tylenol or icing the area for 20 minutes can help relieve discomfort. Schedule a follow-up appointment after your procedure to document its efficacy and address any concerns or changes.
Most patients can find relief with epidural injections for a few months and up to a year after the procedure.
With any medical procedure, there are always risks and potential side effects. Epidural steroid injections are considered a minimally invasive, safe procedure, but temporary side effects may occur in some cases. These include, but aren't limited to:
If you happen to experience these side effects, they typically will resolve themselves within hours. In rare cases, severe complications may include spinal cord damage, dural puncture or stroke.
Relief from epidural steroid injections is not permanent and does not help every kind of back pain. Before you receive an epidural steroid injection, talk to your healthcare provider about medications you are currently taking, especially blood thinners. You may need to stop taking certain medications several days before your epidural injection. This will help reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising. Some dietary supplements also have blood-thinning effects, so be sure to mention these as well.