Epidural steroid injections can be administered to address nerve problems in your back, neck, and other parts of the body.
Steroid injections are generally very effective. In general, people with low back pain that radiates down the leg (like people with sciatica) can benefit from an epidural steroid injection. You physician will often recommend physical therapy and other pain management techniques in addition to the injections.
The procedure may include
- Injecting the skin with a local anesthetic. You may feel a stinging and burning sensation.
- Epidural injection. You will feel pressure and minor discomfort, but not pain. If pain occurs, let the doctor know.
The length of the procedure will vary from patient to patient, but usually takes no more than an hour. The steroids used in the epidural injection are corticosteroids that lessen swelling and irritation. You may be prescribed multiple injections that are performed weeks apart.
As with all surgeries and procedures there is a risk of bleeding, infection, or nerve damage. Some patients may experience a headache that can occur during or right after the injection or up to two days after the injection. Let your doctor know if you have a headache. An epidural steroid injection may cause fluid retention and raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but these side effects can often be managed, so talk to your physician.
Epidural steroid injections have proven to be an effective treatment for many chronic pain symptoms.