epidural injection

What is an Epidural Injection? 

An Epidural Steroid Injection is a non-surgical procedure that is performed in the office to treat pain conditions. The most common conditions treated with Epidural Steroid Injections include:

  • Neck pain
  • Lower Back pain
  • Upper Back Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Arm pain
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Sciatica

Different types of Epidural Injections include: 

  • A cervical ESI injection may provide relief from pain radiating out into the shoulders and arms
  • A lumbar ESI may help with pain in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs
  • A thoracic ESI may address pain in the mid-back and shoulder blade region

Common uses of Epidural Injections

An epidural injection is an injection of medication into the space around the spinal cord, also known as the epidural space, to provide temporary or prolonged relief from pain or inflammation.  Steroids, anesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications are typically delivered in an epidural injection. The injection may reduce pain and swelling in and around the spinal nerve roots, as well as around damaged nerves which in time may heal.

An epidural injection may be performed to alleviate pain caused by:

  • A herniated or bulging disk
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Post-operative “failed back” surgery syndromes (chronic back or leg pain after spinal surgery)
  • Other injuries to spinal nerves, vertebrae and surrounding tissues

How does the procedure work?

During the procedure, the patient lies face down, and local anesthesia is administered. Next, the pain management specialist inserts a needle into the epidural space and injects a contrast dye. A fluoroscope confirms accurate placement of the needle tip. The steroid-anesthetic mixture is injected next. Patients may need to undergo as many as three injections in order to experience the full benefit the medication can offer.
The different types of medications injected into the epidural space create different effects for patients. Corticosteroids act as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing swelling and nerve irritation to allow the nerve time to heal itself, thereby preventing further discomfort. The duration of improvement from the epidural injection varies. Some patients have permanent relief. In others, the effects may not last long. A patient may experience relief for a matter of days up to several months; however, the pain may eventually return, requiring either a series of injections or an alternative treatment.

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