Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
Epidural Steroid Injection is an outpatient procedure for treatment of neck, arm, lower back and leg pain. This information has been provided by your provider so you can better understand this procedure. Your provider will make the best recommendation for your specific needs.
What is an Epidural Space?
The dura is a protective covering of the spinal cord and its nerves. The area surrounding the dura is the epidural space. In the lower back, for example, this space is called the lumbar epidural space.
What Causes Pain in the Epidural Space?
The lumbar area of the spine has five bones, and the cervical has seven bones, called vertebrae. Soft discs between the vertebrae act as cushions, offering support and controlling motion.
If a disc tears, chemicals inside may leak out, causing inflammation and pain of nerve roots or the dura. A large tear may also cause a disc bulge. Bone spurs, called osteophytes, can also press against nerve roots and cause pain.
What Happens During an Injection?
An IV may be inserted to administer intravenous medication(s) to help you relax. A local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin.
Fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, will be used to insure the safe and proper position of the needle. A dye will also be injected to make sure the needle is in the correct spot.
Once your physician is sure the needle is correctly placed, the medicine (steroid) will be injected.
What Happens After an Injection?
You will be monitored for up to 30 minutes after the injection. Before you leave, you will be given discharge instructions.
Keeping track of your pain helps the doctor know what the next steps will be. Your pain may become a little worse for a day or two. This is normal. It may be caused by needle irritation or by the steroid itself. Steroids usually take two or three days to start working, but can take as long as a week.
You should be able to return to work the day after the injection, but always check with your doctor.