A lumbar epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure meant for back pain treatment and leg pain. This information has been provided by your doctor so you can better understand this procedure. Your doctor will make the best recommendation for your specific needs.
What is a lumbar epidural steroid injection?
During this procedure, a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medicine) is injected into the epidural space to reduce inflammation and pain. Your physician may inject into the epidural space from behind, this is called an interlaminar injection. When your physician goes in from the side, it is called a transforaminal injection. If the needle is positioned next to an individual nerve root, it is called a selective nerve root block. When performed from below it is called a caudal injection.
What happens during an injection?
An IV is typically inserted to administer intravenous medication(s) to help you relax. A local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin at the area where the procedure will be performed.
Fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray, will be used to ensure the safe and proper position of the needle. A dye will be injected to make sure the needle is in the correct spot and that it flows properly into the epidural space.
The flow around your nerve impingement and herniated disc will be evaluated.
Once your physician is sure the needle is correctly placed, the medicine will be injected.
What happens after an injection?
You will be monitored for up to 30 minutes after the injection. Before you leave, you will be provided with discharge instructions. Keeping track of your pain helps the doctor know what the next steps will be.
It is possible that your pain may become a little worse for a day or two. This is normal. It may be caused by needle irritation, by the steroid itself or the anesthetic wearing off. Steroids usually take two or three days to start working, but can take as long as a week.
You should be able to return to work the day after the injection, but always consult with your doctor.
How long can I expect pain relief?
The amount and duration of pain relief varies from person to person and is dependent on many factors including your underlying pathology and activity level.
Some can have relief that lasts for years, while others may have short-term relief. Usually a series of injections, often three, each spaced two weeks apart, are given. It is important to discuss with your physician your response to epidural steroids in order to plan future treatment options.