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What Are Epidural Steroid Injections Used for?

What Are Epidural Steroid Injections Used for?


Epidural steroid injections are a standard treatment for back pain. They are used to help reduce inflammation and pain in the spine. For new patients, deciding to have this type of procedure can be overwhelming. They may have several questions, such as what the injection is used for, how long the effect will last, and what the side effects may be.

Read more: Steroid injections: Top 10 questions asked by new patients

We will explain the injection, how long it will last, and the side effects.

How Do Epidural Steroid Injections Work?

The lower back of your spine is called the lumbar region. This is where most back pain occurs. The sciatic nerve runs through your hips and down each leg from the lower back. When the sciatic nerve gets irritated or inflamed, it will cause pain in your lower back and legs.

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive medical treatment that can help relieve pain caused by this inflammation. ESI involves injecting a long-acting steroid medication and a local anesthetic into the space around your spinal cord. This space is called the epidural space.

The steroid medication reduces inflammation and swelling around the nerve roots. This helps to relieve pressure on the nerves and reduces pain. The local anesthetic numbs the area around the nerve roots, providing immediate pain relief.

ESI is usually done as an outpatient procedure. This means you may go home the same day. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes. You may feel some pressure during the injection, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. You may be asked to stay at the hospital for a short time after the procedure so the staff can monitor your vital signs.

Most people experience pain relief within a few days after the injection. The local anesthetic usually wears off after a few hours. The steroid medication takes longer to work. It may take up to a week or two to feel the full effects.

ESI is generally safe and has few risks. The most common side effect is temporary numbness or weakness in your legs. This usually goes away within a day or two.

Which Conditions Are Epidural Steroid Injections Used To Treat?

1) Degenerative Disc Disease

When discs degenerate, they shrink and become less able to act as cushions between your vertebrae. This can lead to pain from bone rubbing on bone.

2) Facet Joint Syndrome

The facet joints are the small joints between each vertebra in your spine. They help stabilize your spine and allow it to move smoothly. However, these joints can become damaged or inflamed, leading to facet joint syndrome.

3) Herniated Disc

A herniated disc happens when the soft inner material of a disc leaks out through a crack in the more rigid outer layer. This can put pressure on nearby nerves and lead to pain.

4) Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is narrowing your spine’s spaces, which can pressure the nerves that travel through it. This will lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in your arms or legs.

5) Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is arthritis that occurs when the cartilage between your joints breaks down. This will lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling.

For epidural steroid injection in Chicago, call Gateway Spine and Pain Physicians. Our pain management doctors offer epidural steroid injections to help relieve pain from conditions like spinal stenosis and herniated discs.