What is an Epidural Steroid Injection

  An epidural steroid injection is delivery of steroid and local anesthetic into the epidural space of the spine to provide relief from pain. Steroids and anesthetics are delivered into the epidural space. 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. Xray guidance, fluoroscopy, is used to help the doctor place the needle in exactly the right location so the patient can receive maximum benefit from the injection.  

What are the Benefits of an Epidural Steroid Injection?

  Temporary or prolonged pain relief. Better ability to function in daily life without restrictions previously caused by pain. It may help confirm the exact site of the pain generator. This is often a problem in patient with more than one possible cause of the pain.

What are some of the common uses of Epidural Steroid Injections?

  An epidural injection is one of many methods doctors use to relieve pain, along with physical therapy, oral medications and surgery if a patient is not responding to conservative treatments. An epidural injection may be performed to alleviate pain caused by: Herniated/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. 

What are some of the RIsks of the Epidural Steroid Injection?

While complications from these procedures is not common, some of the risks associated with Epidural Steroid Injections include:

  • Increase in pain 
  • Headache, rare but possible 
  • Reaction to the medication: temporary hot flashes, rash, mood changes or sleep disturbances 
  • Infection or Bleeding 
  • Injury to the nerves resulting in temporary or permanent pain
  • Temporary paralysis of the nerves leading to the bladder or bowel causing temporary bladder or bowel dysfunction 

With injections to the neck more serious complications can occur, such as:

  • spinal cord injury 
  • stroke
  • death

Your doctor will commonly use X-Ray to guide the needle to minimize these risks.  

For Your Information:

 Dr. Paul D. Weir does not currently practice pain management or perform epidural steroid injection.