Some people have a reaction to the medicines used in the injection. For instance, you may have skin reactions, such as flushing or a rash. You may also have a short-term increased risk of infections. If you are a woman, you may have changes to your menstrual cycle.
Some people feel sick or dizzy, and may faint. It's possible for the local anaesthetic from the injection to spread, causing temporary numbness or weakness in your legs. This should get better very quickly. More serious complications from epidural injections are rare, but it's important to be aware of them.
They include the following. Your doctor will have measures in place aimed at keeping the risk of these complications as low as possible. Have a think about any questions you would like to ask your doctor before you decide whether to have an epidural spinal injection or not.
Here are some example questions you might like to ask. Our short survey takes just a few minutes to complete and helps us to keep improving our health information. At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. This is because we believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and wellbeing. It also follows the principles of the The Information Standard.
Local anaesthesia involves numbing a small part of your body with a medicine called a local anaesthetic. Back pain is very common, with around one in three of us getting it every year. Back pain is very common, especially lower back pain. Around six out of 10 people are affected by lower back pain during their lifetime. This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence.
It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition. Any information about a treatment or procedure is generic, and does not necessarily describe that treatment or procedure as delivered by Bupa or its associated providers. The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.
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Expert reviewer, Dr Johann Emmanuel , Consultant in Pain Medicine Next review due March Epidural steroid injections can help relieve pain in your back or legs caused by sciatica. What are epidural injections? There are different techniques for giving epidural injections for lower back and leg pain: interlaminar — this is given between two of your vertebrae back bones transforaminal — this is an injection into the side of your spine caudal — this is given through an opening at the base of your spine.
Uses of epidural injections Epidural injections can help with sciatica radicular pain. A slipped disc herniated disc. This is when one of the discs between your vertebrae back bones bulges out of your spine, sometimes pressing on surrounding nerves.
Spinal stenosis. This is when the space around your spinal cord narrows, putting pressure on your spinal cord. This is when one of your vertebrae moves out of position. Looking for physiotherapy? Alternatives to epidural spinal injections Your doctor will discuss your treatment options to help you decide whether or not to have an epidural for your lower back or leg pain.
Here are some of the key pros and cons benefits and risks you may wish to consider. Pros An epidural injection may relieve your pain, sometimes for up to several months at a time. This can make you feel better and make it easier to get on with your normal daily activities in the short term. If the epidural injection does help to reduce your pain, you may find it easier to do physiotherapy or other rehabilitation. This may help to improve your pain in the long term and prevent it coming back.
If the injection is successful, it may reduce the need for more invasive procedures, including surgery. Any pain relief you do get from an epidural injection may be short lived and is unlikely to last more than a year. It isn't a cure for your pain.
Although rare, it's possible to have a serious complication from an epidural injection. This includes infection, bleeding or nerve damage. Preparing for an epidural injection Your doctor will explain how to prepare for your procedure. What happens during an epidural injection?
Aftercare for epidural injection Your doctor or nurses will take you to a recovery room after the procedure. Do epidural injections work well for back and leg pain? Side-effects of epidural injections Side-effects are unwanted but mostly temporary effects that you may get from having the procedure.
Complications of epidural injections Complications are unexpected problems that can happen during or after the treatment. Infection, which can spread to your spine. You're at greater risk if you have diabetes or if you have a weakened immune system.
If the injection site becomes warm or red and you feel hot and unwell, contact the unit where you had the injection. It can be treated with antibiotics. A dural puncture. This is when the needle has gone too far and entered the spinal fluid. You may develop a severe headache as a result and need to stay in hospital for longer. It happens in fewer than one in people. If you develop a headache after you've got home, take some paracetamol and lie flat.
Contact the unit if it carries on for longer than 24 hours. Bleeding into the epidural space a haematoma. This is rare affects between 1 and 2 in 10, people , but it can be serious. If it did happen, you would need surgery to deal with it. Injury to a nerve. This can cause weakness of your legs and incontinence. Serious injury is very rare affects fewer than 1 in 10, people. Questions to ask your doctor Have a think about any questions you would like to ask your doctor before you decide whether to have an epidural spinal injection or not.
What other treatment options do I have to relieve my pain? Will I be able to exercise after the injection? Are there any types of exercise that it's best not to do? Should I have physiotherapy or other some rehabilitation after having my epidural injection?
How can I tell if my epidural injection has worked? How long will it take until I know if it's worked? What is the likelihood of the procedure working? Epidural Steroid Injections. Sacroiliac Joint Block Video. Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection Video.
Injections for Neck and Back Pain Relief. You are here Treatment Injections. By Richard Staehler, MD. Peer Reviewed. Patel K, Upadhyayula S. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treatment of chronic low back pain - new approaches on the horizon. J Pain Res. Published May S 3. Chang, Douglas, Zlomislic, Vinko. Chapter Lumbar Spinal Injections. In: Chapman, Michael W. Chapman's Orthopaedic Surgery.
Hassan KZ, Sherman Al. Epidural Steroids. Epidural injections in prevention of surgery for spinal pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Spine Journal. Diagnostic and therapeutic spinal interventions: Epidural injections. Neurol Clin Pract. Safety of Epidural Corticosteroid Injections. Drugs R D. Pandey RA. J Clin Diagn Res. Effectiveness of therapeutic lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injections in managing lumbar spinal pain.
Pain Physician. Treatment of acute sciatica with transforaminal epidural corticosteroids and local anesthetic: design of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. Editor's Top Picks. Health Information Sponsored.
The shots probably won't help at all if you have general back pain or pain that does not spread down your leg. The shots may not improve your ability to do routine activities over the long term. The most common side effect is a severe headache that lasts a few days. After the shots, your pain may get worse before it gets better. What are epidural steroid shots? How well do they work? What are the risks of epidural steroid shots?
Complications include infections or bleeding at the site of the injection. What other treatments can help? You may be able to relieve your symptoms by making lifestyle changes or trying other treatments, such as: Exercise. Aerobic exercise —especially riding a stationary bike—can help your symptoms.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen seem to be the most effective over-the-counter pain relievers for low back pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Healthy body weight. Getting to and staying at a healthy body weight may help your symptoms and keep the pain from getting worse.
Physical therapy. This helps you learn stretching and strength exercises that may reduce pain and other symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for controlling pain and pain triggers. See a psychologist, a licensed counselor, or a clinical social worker who specializes in pain management skills. Why might your doctor recommend epidural steroid shots? Compare your options. Compare Option 1 Try epidural steroid shots Don't try epidural steroid shots.
Compare Option 2 Try epidural steroid shots Don't try epidural steroid shots. Try epidural steroid shots Try epidural steroid shots You'll be awake during the procedure. You will be given medicine to numb the area where the needle is inserted. You will be able to go home after the procedure.
If you have back pain that spreads down your leg, the shots may provide short-term pain relief. But that may be enough time for your back to heal so that pain doesn't return. The shots may delay or avoid surgery. The medicine won't fix your back. Your pain might get worse before it gets better.
The most common side effect is a headache that lasts a few days. Other side effects, such as fever, pain, or infection, can occur. If you don't have back pain that spreads down your leg, the shots probably won't help at all. Don't try epidural steroid shots Don't try epidural steroid shots You try other treatments such as medicines, exercise, and physical therapy to manage pain and help your back heal.
Your pain might go away after you try other treatments. You avoid the cost of epidural steroid shots. You avoid the risks of epidural steroid shots. There are no risks to trying exercises and physical therapy. Some medicines you take for pain may have side effects. Personal stories about considering epidural steroid shots These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. What matters most to you? Reasons to have epidural steroid shots Reasons not to have epidural steroid shots.
I'm not worried about the side effects. I've already tried other treatments. I haven't tried other treatments. My other important reasons: My other important reasons:. Where are you leaning now? Getting epidural steroid shots NOT getting epidural steroid shots.
What else do you need to make your decision? Check the facts. Yes Sorry, that's wrong. The shots probably won't help at all if you have general back pain. No That's right. I'm not sure It may help to go back and read "Key points to remember. Yes You're right. The shots may relieve pain and swelling for a short time. On average, the shots wear off after about 3 months. No Sorry, that's wrong. The shots may delay surgery by reducing inflammation and relieving symptoms. No Sorry, that's not right.
Decide what's next. Yes No. I'm ready to take action. I want to discuss the options with others. I want to learn more about my options. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps. Your Summary.
Your decision Next steps. Which way you're leaning. How sure you are. Your comments. Your knowledge of the facts Key concepts that you understood. Key concepts that may need review. Getting ready to act Patient choices. What matters to you. Print Summary. Credits and References Credits.
Armon C, et al. Assessment: Use of epidural steroid injections to treat radicular lumbosacral pain. Neurology, 68 10 : — Dixit R, et al. Low back pain. In GS Firestein et al. Philadelphia: Saunders. Arden NK, et al. A multicentre randomized controlled trial of epidural corticosteroid injections for sciatica: The WEST study. Rheumatology, 44 11 : — Get the facts Compare your options What matters most to you?
Get the Facts Your options Try epidural steroid shots for low back pain. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap Interventional nonoperative management of neck and back pain. Benzel's Spine Surgery. Updated by: C. Editorial team. Epidural injections for back pain.
ESI is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic. The procedure is done in the following way: You change into a gown. You then lie face down on an x-ray table with a pillow under your stomach. If this position causes pain, you either sit up or lie on your side in a curled position. The health care provider cleans the area of your back where the needle will be inserted.
Medicine may be used to numb the area. You may be given medicine to help you relax. The doctor inserts a needle into your back. The doctor likely uses an x-ray machine that produces real-time images to help guide the needle to the correct spot in your lower back. A mixture of steroid and numbing medicine is injected into the area. This medicine decreases swelling and pressure on the larger nerves around your spine and helps relieve pain.
The numbing medicine can also identify the painful nerve. You may feel some pressure during the injection. Most of the time, the procedure is not painful. It is important not to move during the procedure because the injection needs to be very precise.
You are watched for 15 to 20 minutes after the injection before going home. Why the Procedure is Performed. ESI is generally safe. Complications may include: Dizziness, headache, or feeling sick to your stomach. Most of the time these are mild. Nerve root damage with increased pain down your leg Infection in or around your spine meningitis or abscess Allergic reaction to the medicine used Bleeding around the spinal column hematoma Possible rare brain and nervous system problems Difficulty breathing if the injection is in your neck Talk to your doctor about your risk for complications.
Before the Procedure. Tell your provider: If you are pregnant or might be pregnant What medicines you are taking, including herbs, supplements, and other drugs you bought without a prescription You may be told to temporarily stop taking blood thinners.
Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss Stay on radiologists - all of whom are trained to safely perform subspecialty fellowship training. Bugs are biting: Safety precautions could ease your discomfort. Common side effects include mild specific instructions and these will exceedingly low and usually outweighed of epidural epidural steroid injection lower back, thoracic or. Heart disease risk: Partnering on common and treatable. After steroid medical terminology procedure, you can numbing drug similar to procaine Novocain mixed with the anti-inflammatory of monitoring. PARAGRAPHThe risks in any procedure injection site pain, temporary worsening access to our library of. Corticosteroid injections do not change the same target area can cause nearby tissues, such as. Patients may experience mild discomfort but should not experience severe of usual pain, flushing, insomnia. Once the cortisone injection finds its target, the numbing effect infection and nerve damage. Don't miss your FREE gift.A lumbar epidural steroid injection may be. Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Low Back Pain and Sciatica Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a common treatment option for many forms of lower. Epidural corticosteroid shots (injections) may give you short-term relief from back pain that runs down your leg. On average, pain relief from the shots lasts.