Epidural Steroid Injection
*Cervical *Lumbar *Thoracic
EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTIONS are used to treat a number of painful spinal conditons including:
Radiculopathies (pinched spinal nerves)
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
These may be used for the Cervical (neck), Thoracic(midback),
Lumbar (low back), and Sacral areas of the spine. This is not an
injection of pain medication, but an actual treatment for sciatica
from disc hernations or spinal stenosis and other conditions.
In the case of disc herniations and the sciatica they cause,
epidural steroid injections may be curative in many cases. This is
due to the dilution of chemical substances which leak onto nerves
from the nucleus of the discs. They can also, in some cases,
relieve the pressure on nerves after an acute herniation. For other conditions they may provide up to months of relief and may be repeated up to several times per year if necessary.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
First, you will be laying comfortably face down with local or IV anesthesia. Using a form of real-time X-ray (fluoroscopy) a thin
needle is safely guided to an area of the spine near the inflamed
nerve and disc herniation. Then a solution of fluid including one of several types of anti-inflammatory medication called glucocorticoids
is injected around a nerve root or the spinal cord to decrease inflammation. In the case of disc herniations this may remove the neurotoxic chemicals which have leaked onto the nerve, and provide
long lasting relief of pain.
ARE THEY PAINFUL?
In the hands of an experienced Pain Physician using a form of
X-ray Guidance they are they are not painful. In most cases they
are performed with local anesthesia to numb the skin, soft tissue,
and muscle, and any pain experienced will be quite mild.
ARE THEY SAFE?
Yes, in the hands of an experienced pain physician they are quite
safe, as the X-ray guidance allows visualizaion of the position of
the needle at all times, ensuring that any serious side effect is
DO I NEED ANESTHESIA?
The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia.
An injection of a numbing medication is given, and you should then feel very little discomfort during this short procedure. Some patients who are very apprehensive about medical procedures may elect to have the procedure performed with intravenous sedation.