Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive solution to pain caused by inflammation of the spinal nerves. They are a combination of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic pain reliever. The corticosteroid functions to reduce inflammation over time, taking pressure off the previously inflamed nerves. The anesthetic serves to immediately relieve pain during the procedure while the corticosteroid takes more time to go into effect. The injection delivers the medications to the inflamed epidural region of your spine, effectively delivering them to the source of your pain.
When to get an epidural steroid injection
These injections are not typically used unless the pain has not responded to other nonsurgical methods. Typical reasons to get an epidural steroid injection are lower back pain, neck pain, and leg pain. If other procedures do not cause the pain to subside, an epidural injection is often the recommended course of action. The injection eases pain without having to result to a surgical procedure. If you experience pain in your lower back, neck, or legs, and nothing else has effectively reduced the pain, this treatment may be able to help.
Many patients’ pain is eased after the treatment. This pain relief is often enough to allow the patient to rehabilitate the injured portion of their body, ensuring that the pain is less even after the injection wears off. The effects of the injection tend to vary with each recipient. Some patients only feel the effects for a week, some for a year, and some do not feel that effects at all. However, most people do feel the effects of the injection for a significant amount of time.
How often an epidural steroid injection should be repeated varies with the patient. If your pain relief from the injection is significant, you may receive up to three injections in a year-long period. If the treatment is only mildly effective, one to two additional injections may be administered in 1 to 4 week intervals to achieve the maximal results. In any case, the optimal number of injections can be determined to ease your pain as much as possible.