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Epidural Steroid Injection

What is an Epidural Steroid Injection?

An epidural steroid injection is a non-surgical treatment used for temporary pain relief in the arm, leg, lower back and neck. Pain is caused by an irritation of the spinal nerves and an epidural steroid injection can relieve the symptoms for a period of one week up to one year.

The epidural space is the area outside of the sack which contains the spinal cord and spinal fluid. In that space a small amount of steroid is injected. This medication improves pain control by reducing the swelling and irritation surrounding the nerve roots.


Why might I need an epidural steroid injection?

If you are suffering from intense, difficult to treat pain in your legs or arms from inflamed spinal nerves, then an epidural steroid injection might give you quick relief. Often, nerve passages from the spine to your arms or legs become narrowed, causing this pain. This narrowing can cause inflammation of the spinal nerves.

A number of conditions may add to this narrowing, including:

  • Herniated disks

  • "Slipped" vertebrae

  • Joint cysts

  • Bone spurs

  • Thickening ligaments in the spine because of spinal arthritis

Injected steroids reduce inflammation and opens up these passages to provides pain relief.

What happens during the procedure?

An epidural steroid injection is a simple procedure:

  1. Our healthcare provider will use an X-ray machine showing moving images on a screen to guide the needle as they make the injection and ensures that the needle is in the correct location.

  2. Contrast dye is injected at the site to make sure that the medicine will be sent to the exact place it needs to go.

  3. The healthcare provider will inject the steroid medicine itself, often along with a local anesthetic to help with pain relief


What happens after the procedure?

Once the procedure is done, you can return home. Usually, you'll be able to return to normal activities on the next day. The steroids usually begin working within 1 to 3 days. In some cases, you might need up to a week to feel the benefits.

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