An epidural injection will help reduce and/or relieve your back or neck pain. Common reasons for having this injection include a disk herniation, spinal stenosis, dengenerative disk disease or radicular (extremity) pain. This injection can be done in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar region of your spine.
Although an epidural injection may not relieve ALL of your pain, it will certainly reduce your pain. Some individuals feel more relief than others after the initial injection – some individuals require a series of injections. This may mean that you may have a total of 3 injections every two weeks with increased pain relief.
A vast majority of back and neck pain is caused by inflammation. The steroid that is injected will help to control local inflammation and allow for a positive outcome of pain relief.
The site of your injection or vertebral body level is predetermined from the information you have provided during your office visit. A contrast agent, which allows the physicians to verify needle placement, is injected into the epidural space. The anti-inflammatory is then injected.
The epidural space is the area that surrounds your nerves within the spinal canal. The medication will bathe the nerve roots and help to decrease the inflammation which will decrease the pain.
Risks and Complications
Spinal headache – this is very rare. However, this would be the type of headache that increases when in the upright position and decreases when lying down. You may be extremely sensitive to light. If this occurs, please let us know as soon as possible. Bleeding – this is very rare. We ask that you remain off of aspirin based products for at least 3-5 days prior to the injection. Also, if you are on any blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix, etc.) you should not take these for approximately 5 days as well.
Infection – this is very rare. Keep an eye on the injection site over the few days following the injection. If any redness, bleeding or seeping of fluids is noticed, please call the office and speak with a staff member immediately.
If you experience a fever, chills or extremity weakness, please call the office immediately.
You should notice pain relief over the following 3-7 days. We ask that you decrease your activity by 30% on the day of the injection. You can then increase your activity as tolerated. Our goal is for you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle – however too much activity too soon may result in increased back pain or minimal pain relief. You may use ice to help minimize any post procedural discomfort, as needed.