Epidural injection is an outpatient procedure that your doctor may use to treat back, neck, leg, and arm pain. During the procedure, medications, usually an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory, are injected into outermost layer of the spinal cord, called the epidural space. This can reduce the inflammation causing the pain, or block the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Commonly used to treat pain due to:
- Spinal stenosis (Narrowing of the lower spine)
- Radiculopathy (Nerve damage that causes pain to radiate to limbs)
- Degenerative disk disease (Break down of disks between vertebrae of the spine)
- Facet arthritis (Inflammation of the joints of the spine)
- Nerve compression
When you come in for the procedure, you will have the opportunity to speak with a clinical staff member in order to have any questions answered, and you will sign a consent form. In the procedure room, you will lie on the treatment table, and the area on your body to undergo the treatment will be sterilized. A radiology tech will be present to guide the fluoroscope (x-ray machine) that your doctor will be using to visualize the needle. You will be given a local anesthetic to decrease the pain of the procedure. The needle will be inserted in to your back, and medication will be injected into the epidural space of your spinal cord.
Some patients may find this procedure to be painful. If you do feel pain, you should tell your doctor, as he may be able to make adjustments to reduce your discomfort. The entire procedure usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes. When it is finished, the needle is removed and the site is covered by a sterile bandage. Following the procedure, you will be able to rest in a recovery area. You will be provided with discharge instructions. You will need to have a responsible adult with you to drive you home.
Recovery and Benefits
Recovery after the procedure
You may call Louisiana Pain Specialists if you have any concerns during your recovery from the procedure. It is normal to have some discomfort at the injection site, and this should resolve within 24 hours. You may use pain medicines, ice, and rest to reduce your pain
The medication may take two to three days to begin reducing your pain. More than half of people who get epidural injections get some pain relief from them. The pain relief is usually short term, lasting less than a year. However, the procedure can be repeated for patients who get good relief from it.