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Epidural Steroid Injections


Many of the procedures discussed on this page involve injection of medication to block the experience of pain.

What is an epidural steroid injection?

Epidural steroid injections are a type of interventional pain management treatment for ongoing neck, back, or leg pain that irritated and inflamed nerves.

During the procedure, a corticosteroid and possibly a local anesthetic are injected into the epidural space in the spine near the area of the inflammation.

Dr. Singla, in her capacity as a disclosed Expert Witness or medical legal consultant, may be asked to review the records of a provider who recommended an epidural steroid injection; she may conduct an IME as part of her assessment.

Who is a candidate for epidural steroid injections?

Only a physician can determine if a person is a candidate for a steroid injection. The most important feature is if the condition itself is known to respond to an epidural steroid injection. Health and other medical factors may suggest some people are not good candidates.

When is an epidural steroid injection indicated?

Ongoing neck, leg, or back pain from:

  • Arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Sciatica

The epidural steroid injection can’t resolve the underlying spine condition, but it can alleviate inflammation and pain so the individual can participate in other therapies, like physical therapy, that improve spine health and function.

What happens during epidural steroid injections?

Epidural steroid injections are an outpatient procedure. The physician uses fluoroscopic X-ray imaging, which is a real-time video X-ray that helps ensure the accuracy of the injection.

 During the epidural steroid injection in the back, the patient is asked to lie face-down on an exam table. A local anesthetic is injected to numb the area. A thin hollow needles is inserted into the epidural space.

A contrast material to is used to confirm proper placement of the needle and the doctor then injects the medication. The entire procedure takes 15-30 minutes.

Once completed, the person is usually cared for in a recovery area for monitoring before being discharged. They should rest for the remainder of the day.

What to expect after epidural steroid injections

Usual activities can be resumed the day after an epidural steroid injection. A patient may be asked to monitor their pain levels and schedule a follow-up appointment to review the results of the injection.

How long will pain relief last?

A few weeks to several months

The duration of pain relief from epidural steroid injections varies, ranging from a few weeks to several months.