Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections, or ESIs, are used to treat pain the legs and arms that are related to the lower back. The ESI addresses the inflammation that causes the pain in the arms and legs allowing individuals to feel relief.
Purpose of Epidural Steroid Injections
The nerves in your body travel along narrow passageways along your spine. Should these passageways become compressed, they put pressure on the nerve which can result of feelings of pain. Compression may be caused by a number of issues including:
• Herniated disks
• Bone spurs
• Curvature of the spine
The space around the spine that provides cushion for nerves and spine is known as the epidural space. When steroids are placed in the epidural space, inflammation is reduced. This can eliminate the pain caused by compression and allow individuals to return to their normal activities. This process addresses the symptoms rather than the cause of the nerve pain.
Performing Epidural Steroid Injections
Although the exact method used will depend on your medical situation and your doctor, all ESI procedures use a needle to deliver steroids into the epidural space. The needle is guided using x-ray into the correct position. Then, a dye is injected to verify the needle is placed correctly. Once placement is verified, the steroid is injected and the needle is removed.
The procedure may be done under sedation or with a local anesthetic based on the patient’s medical condition and their preference. Generally speaking, ESIs are done in an office location and patients can return to their normal activity the next day.
After Epidural Steroid Injections
Generally speaking, most individuals will experience relief between one and three days after the procedure. While side effects from the steroids are rare, they can include feeling flushed, having anxiety or feeling bloated. These issues typically resolve by themselves within a few days.