Epidural Injections Q & A
What is an epidural steroid injection?
An epidural steroid injection contains two medications: corticosteroids and a local anesthetic. Dr. Bux injects these medications into the epidural space, which lies just outside the membrane that covers the spinal cord.
When medications are injected into the epidural space, they deliver optimal treatment by flowing around the inflamed nerves. The anesthetic in your injection quickly relieves the pain.
Corticosteroids alleviate pain by reducing inflammation. Some corticosteroids may start to work in a few hours; others take up to a week before they reduce the inflammation enough to relieve your pain. However, corticosteroids produce long-lasting results, providing pain relief that lasts from a week to a year.
The duration of your results and the extent of your pain relief depends on your individual response. If you experience minimal pain relief, you may get better results following an additional injection.
When might I need an epidural steroid injection?
Epidural steroid injections relieve back, neck, leg, and arm pain that’s caused by inflamed nerves. Patients who receive this type of treatment often have conditions such as:
- Facet joint arthritis
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis)
Many patients with sciatica experience symptom relief following an epidural steroid injection. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates down your leg and leg tingling or numbness caused by a pinched sciatic nerve.
What should I expect during an epidural steroid injection?
When you get an epidural steroid injection, Dr. Bux uses an advanced X-ray technique that produces high-definition images in real time. He uses fluoroscopy to visualize your spine and precisely guide a hollow needle into the epidural space.
After the needle is close to the targeted nerves, Dr. Bux injects a contrast dye. By observing the dye as it leaves the needle, he can verify that the medications will flow around the chosen nerves. He then injects the medications and removes the needle.
You stay in the office for a short time after your injection. However, most patients can get up and walk around as soon as their treatment is finished.
You should rest and relax immediately after the procedure. If you have any residual soreness, you can apply ice to the injection site. Patients typically feel a reduction in pain in 1-2 hours after the injection, due to the anesthetic in the injection.
Pain may return after the anesthetic wears off, but you should start to see relief in 3-5 days, though this can vary from patient to patient.
If you need relief from back, neck, arm, or leg pain, call Bux Pain Management or book an appointment online.