Epidural Steroid Injection

What You Need to Know

Epidural steroid injections are effective in treating acute and chronic pain in the back and legs. They are used to treat herniated lumbar discs, lumbar radicular pain, back pain and spinal stenosis. Epidural steroid injections provide the most relief when performed as soon as possible and in succession to deliver the appropriate amount of steroids to reduce inflammation, calm nerves, lubricate the spine and provide pain relief.

What to expect

Live X-ray imaging is used to perform epidural steroid injections. A patient can choose to have sedation for the procedure, but this is not required. Patients can expect to feel a pinch on the back to numb the skin. During the procedure the patient may feel pressure at the injection site. Side effects from the numbing medications include numbness and weakness in the legs, which ends when the numbing medication wears off. The injected steroids will take three to five days to start to work and alleviate pain.

Recovery

This is a same day procedure with limited restrictions afterward. Patients may experience numbness and weakness in the legs after injection, which will pass in a couple hours. When the numbing medication wears off, there may be muscle discomfort where the injection was performed. Patients will likely not experience pain relief until three to five days have passed following the injection. The goal of pain relief from these injections is to improve physical function and activities of daily living. Patients are encouraged to maintain activity and participate in physical therapy to strengthen the spine.