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Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

    What is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

    A lumbar epidural steroid injection can be used to treat a variety of spine conditions in the lower back. This injection involves delivering a corticosteroid medication and often a local anesthetic into the epidural space, which is the space surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The coritcosteroid medication helps to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain caused by pinched nerves, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, chronic lower back pain, and more.

    How are Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections Performed?

    Lumbar epidural steroid injections are done in an outpatient setting. You will typically be on your stomach or side, and a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the skin and tissues around the injection site. Your pain doctor will then carefully insert a thin niddle into the epidural space in your lower back. Once the needle is properly positioned, the medication is injected. The need is carefully withdrawn, and you may be monitored for a short period of time following the injection to ensure there are no immediate complications.

    The duration of pain relief can vary from person to person, and repeated injections may be necessary for long-term management of certain conditions. Some individuals may experience immediate relief, while others may require a few days for the medication to take full effect. Our top pain management specialist at Pro Spine & Pain will discuss the potential benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of the procedure with you before scheduling and performing the injection.

    Types of Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

    If you’re to undergo this type of injection, it’s likely you could have a different approach to someone else. The path of this injection depends on the location of your nerve pain and inflammation. To pinpoint the pain, you’ll be sent for a CT or MRI scan.

    Then you will be sent for the following type of approach:

    • Transforaminal route: Precise injection administration into the epidural area, next to the area where your nerve may be irritated. This approach targets specific nerve roots to decrease pain and inflammation.
    • Interlaminar route: Here, the needle is inserted into the back of your spine, and medication is administered into the epidural space. This approach encourages the steroid to spread within the space instead of directly on the nerve root.
    • Caudal route: A general approach that is safer and easier to perform but is often less effective than the previous two.


    What to Do if I Have Pain After a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

    It’s normal to experience slight pain once the anesthetic has worn off. If you experience worsening pain after the procedure, you must contact us. It might be a sign of an underlying spinal condition or area that needs to be treated.

    Are There Any Side Effects of a Lumbar Epidural?

    Side effects can occur from this procedure, but the chance of them happening is usually very small. If they are to happen, you’ll likely experience a headache, low blood pressure, itchy skin, nausea, and slow breathing. Contact us for an appointment if you experience any of these.

    How Long Does a Lumbar Epidural Last?

    Often, lumbar spinal injections provide temporary pain relief that lasts for at least 3 months up to a year. Sometimes, people may experience no pain relief or less, where another injection may be required.

    Updated on Jun 11, 2024 by Dr. Thomas Stauss (Pain Management) of Pro Spine & Pain

    Thomas Stauss, MD

    Thomas Stauss, MD, completed both his undergraduate and medical studies at the esteemed University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Stauss values having access to a wide array of cutting-edge treatments, ensuring effective relief for his patients' discomfort and a significant enhancement in their quality of life. Dr. Stauss’s primary objective is to uphold the dignity of each patient while delivering ethical and professional services.

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