Top 5 Critical Facts About Epidural Steroid Injections

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Steroid Injections

If you experience pain due to an inflamed nerve and have tried conservative treatment options unsuccessfully, you can benefit from Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection. The injection targets the epidural space of your caudal spine, lumbar, thoracic, cervical areas, or any other affected part of your body. Generally, the alternative treatment can be used to alleviate pain in your legs, arms, neck, and back. Get to learn more about the treatment option.

What it Comprises

A steroid injection is a treatment option for chronic back pain that will not respond to medications and physical therapy. It involves injecting a shot of cortisone into your epidural space. The cortisone is a typical steroid occurring naturally in your body and is mainly a part of your brain’s chemical response to stress. The adrenal gland releases it to suppress the immune system diming inflammation and your perception of pain.

However, the naturally occurring cortisone acts only for a short period, which is why medical practitioners deliver artificial cortisone that acts longer through the epidural steroid injection.

How it Works

Your immune system is the defense system designed to fight invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When you are injured, something is not right in your body, and your immune system is the first to respond. While the initial response will be inflammation, the adrenal gland will release the naturally existing cortisone to contain the immune system to reduce the inflammation.

Therefore, an epidural steroid injection generally takes advantage of the naturally occurring process to hold the pain for an extended period. Instead of waiting for your body to release the cortisone, your doctor injects you with the artificial one to relieve the pain faster.

Why it is Necessary

While steroid injections are mainly for the hips, knees, and sacroiliac joint, your doctor can inject it to any affected joint in your body. In most cases, you might need the treatment option for health complications such as joint injuries, arthritis, cancer pain, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease. You can also benefit from an epidural steroid injection following spine surgery.

Some Risks are Involved

While epidural injections do not usually cause ill effects, some complications can occur occasionally. Although not common, you might experience sleeping changes, menstrual changes, water retention, anxiety, and increased hunger for a short period. You can also experience a steroid flush where you endure a rise in body temperature and face and chest flushes for several days.

What to Expect

Before your treatment, your doctor will evaluate if you are a good candidate for epidural steroid injections. It involves an evaluation of your medical history, current medications, and your unique needs. Your doctor will also guide you through any necessary preoperative preparations.

Your provider will clean the injection site with an antiseptic and inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin and deeper tissues during your treatment. Although you might experience some discomfort and pressure, you should not experience much pain.

After your injection, you can expect the full benefits of the steroids after a few days but consider that every patient is different. If your condition does not improve after a few days, contact your doctor for further investigation.

Suppose you need epidural steroid injections; reach out to University Pain Medicine Center to learn if you are a good candidate. The interventional pain management physicians and minimally invasive surgeons will advise you accordingly and help you make informed decisions.