Epidural Steroid Injection
An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. ESI may be performed to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered to the spinal nerve through the epidural space, the area between the protective covering of the spinal nerves and bony vertebrae.
During The Procedure
The patient lies facedown on an x-ray table while numbing medication and then steroids are injected into the targeted area of the spine using fluoroscopic guidance for precise delivery. The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes, with about 45 minutes recovery. Discomfort during the procedure should be minimal.
Degrees of response vary widely but in general, epidurals seem to work for at least half of patients. Their pain relief may last for several days or even years. For those who do not experience notable neck/back pain relief after an epidural, subsequent injections are not advisable. But for a patient who experiences at least some degree of improvement, additional epidurals may be performed about two weeks apart. Most doctors will not conduct more than three epidurals in a six-month period. If pain returns before six months are up, alternate treatments are pursued. The goal is to reduce pain so that you may resume normal activities and a physical therapy program.