TREATMENTS

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

OVERVIEW

This injection procedure is performed to relieve low back and radiating leg pain. Steroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions.

 

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States — only headache is more common. Fortunately, most occurrences of low back pain go away within a few days. Others take much longer to resolve or lead to more serious conditions.

Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Occasionally, pain felt in one part of the body may “radiate” from a disorder or injury elsewhere in the body. Some acute pain syndromes can become more serious if left untreated.

Epidural injections administer local anesthetic and/or steroids into the epidural space. Steroid medication is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. A salt water (saline) solution may be added to flush chemicals that cause inflammation. Short or long acting anesthetic medications are used to relieve pain. The various pain syndromes include lumbar radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, arthritis, cancer-related pain and neuropathy.

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Epidural injections are short outpatient procedures that can be done in our office or at a surgery center. You will wear a gown for the procedure. Before you receive the epidural injection, your lower back area will be sterilized, and numbed with an anesthetic. You may receive a relaxing medication before your procedure begins.

Your doctor will use a live X-ray image (fluoroscopy) to carefully insert and guide the needle to the epidural space. A contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement. Next, the medication solution is delivered to the epidural space, and the needle is removed.

You will be monitored for several minutes before you can return home. Your doctor will instruct you on how to relieve temporary mild pain at the injection site. Most people can resume their regular activities the next day.

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