An epidural steroid injection is a procedure performed to relieve pain in patients with spinal degeneration, spinal stenosis (narrowing) and/or disc herniation/protrusion. Inflammation can often be the source of back pain, and a steroid injection helps to reduce this.
An epidural steroid injection will take approximately 20 minutes.
You will be positioned on your stomach on an x-ray table. The area to be injected will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area.
A small needle will be placed into the space surrounding the nerves in the spinal canal (called the epidural space). The location of the needle will be confirmed by injecting a small amount of x-ray contrast. Next a combination of anesthetic and steroid will be injected.
A summary of the procedure and findings will be sent to your healthcare provider.
You may resume your normal diet and prescribed medications. You should have someone stay with you for 12 hours after the procedure. Rest for the remainder of the day and do not return to work until the following day. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 24 hours after the procedure.
As the anesthetic that was injected wears off, your symptoms may return and may be worse for 1-2 days until the steroid takes effect. You may feel soreness at the needle insertion site for 2-3 days. You can use an ice pack for up to 15 minutes per hour to relieve any discomfort.
In some patients, a single injection will give permanent relief. Many patients require multiple injections. In patients where inflammation is not a contributing factor to the pain, this injection may not provide any relief.
Fluoroscopy image from an epidural steroid injection.