Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI)

If you have persistent neck or back pain, you may respond to an Epidural Steroid Injection. This treatment helps to reduce the inflammation associated with spinal discomfort.

The Treatment

This non-surgical treatment is a simple way to reduce neck and back pain. During the treatment, a cortisone-like steroid is injected into the epidural space, which is located between a membrane and the vertebral wall. This space contains the inflamed nerves responsible for back pain. By decreasing nerve inflammation, pain is lessened. This treatment is minimally invasive, making it a good option for people who suffer from chronic back pain but are wary of surgical treatments.

The Injection

Epidural Steroid Injection treatments are typically administered using X-Ray guidance. The patient lies on their stomach, and the medical professional administers the injection to the appropriate area. For most treatments, patients will be given local anesthesia. The injection takes about 10 minutes, and then patients are given 20 minutes to recover. After waiting for the appropriate amount of time, patients are allowed to go home.

Because local anesthetic is injected before the procedure, most patients feel minimal discomfort during the steroid injections. Regardless of age, ESI is well tolerated by patients.

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Patients who are anxious about needles should talk to their doctor about intravenous sedation, which can help to soothe pre-injection nerves.

Candidates for Epidural Steroid Injections

This treatment has proven effective for a number of different back and neck conditions. People with herniated and bulging discs are good candidates for the treatment, as are people who are recovering from spinal surgeries. ESI can also be used to treat spinal stenosis, vertebral column slippage, and pain related to shingles. If you have any type of chronic back or neck pain, you are likely a good candidate for this procedure.

Preparation for the Treatment

If you choose to undergo ESI treatment, there are several things you should do to prepare for the injection. You should abstain from eating and drinking anything for the 8 hours prior to your procedure. You should also discuss the medications you are currently taking with your doctor. If you take blood-thinning medications, for example, the doctor may recommend that you stop taking them prior to the treatment.

After the Treatment

After the injection, your back pain will be temporarily lessened because of the local anesthetic. It will likely return after a few hours. The steroid will begin to take affect after three days, and you will certainly notice an improvement after a week.

The day of the treatment, you should plan to be absent from work for the rest of the day. The best thing to do after ESI is to go home and rest. Placing an ice pack on the injected area can help if there is any lingering soreness. Most people resume normal activities the day after the treatment.

Epidural Steroid Injections are an effective treatment option for patients suffering from chronic spinal pain. Ask your doctor about whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.