Epidural steroid injections are a popular method for treating pain related to inflammation of the spinal nerves most often caused by herniated discs or spinal stenosis. Low back pain radiating to or referred to the legs and feet and neck pain radiating or referred to the shoulder, arms and hands are common reasons for the use of epidural steroid injections. When steroids (potent anti-inflammatory medications) are injected into the epidural space, they can decrease pain and improve function by reducing inflammation of the affected nerves. Steroids do not fix the cause of the pain but can offer relief and improve quality of life of the patient. By decreasing inflammation and pain, steroids can hasten the road to recovery.
Epidural injections are outpatient procedures performed by inserting a needle into the epidural space using x-ray guidance and then injecting a contrast dye, to ensure proper placement of the medication to the affected nerve or nerves. Patients typically obtain relief from their pain within 2-7 days
A patient’s response to these injections can provide clinically useful information. They can be a useful technique in identifying a particular area as a pain generator.