An epidural steroid injection is a technique for relieving pain from spinal stenosis and spinal disc herniation. Epidurals can be administered interlaminally (mid point of disc space) or transforaminally (either side of disc space). Using a needle, small amounts of steroids and a local anesthetic are injected into the epidural space around the spinal cord and nerves. The anti-inflammatory effects of the steroid is responsible for providing pain relief. The injections are recommended to be performed under flouroscopy (live x-ray) to ensure maximum results. Epidural steroid injections can be administered to the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (low back) spine.
Following an epidural injection, some partial numbness from the anesthetic can occur in your arms or legs. Any partial numbness usually subsides after a few hours. Improvements in pain will generally occur within 10 days after the epidural injection, and may be noticed as soon as 1 to 5 days after the injection.
On the day of the injection, do not drive and avoid doing any strenuous activities. On the day following the procedure, you can return to your regular activities. If the epidural steroid injection is effective in alleviating your back pain, it can be administered up to 3 times per year.