What is an epidural?
An epidural injection delivers cortisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid medication, to the outer region of your spinal column, called the epidural space. The injection may also include an anesthetic or numbing agent.
Dr. Andrews uses this minimally invasive procedure to treat back, leg, neck, and arm pain that arises from inflamed spinal nerves. An epidural steroid injection isn’t a permanent treatment, but it can provide pain relief that lasts for several days and up to a few years.
The goal of treatment with epidurals is to make you comfortable enough to resume normal activities and complete a physical therapy regimen.
What type of pain can epidurals treat?
Dr. Andrews may recommend an epidural steroid injection if you suffer from neck, arm, low back, or leg pain due to any of the following conditions:
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal compression fracture
- Thickened ligaments due to spinal arthritis
Epidurals may not correct the underlying problem, but they offer pain relief by reducing inflammation that causes nerve compression.
What should I expect from an epidural injection?
First, Dr. Andrews performs a physical exam and reviews your medical history to make sure you’re a good candidate for an epidural steroid injection. He usually performs epidurals as an outpatient procedure.
To guide the medications to the precise location of the pain source, Dr. Andrews uses a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy. Depending on the type of pain you have, he may administer the injection in your neck, middle back, or low back.
An epidural injection typically takes about 15-45 minutes, followed by a recovery period. You may feel some pressure when the injection occurs, but most people don’t find it painful. If needed, Dr. Andrews may repeat the procedure in other locations. Pain relief should take effect in 1-3 days.
How safe are epidurals?
Epidural injections are generally safe and usually don’t cause problems. However, there is a low risk of side effects, including:
- Flushing and warmth in the face and chest
- Difficulty sleeping
- Menstrual changes
- Water retention
Rarely, epidurals cause an increase in pain for several days after the procedure. Serious complications are rare but may include allergic reactions, nerve damage, and infection.
To learn more about how epidurals can quickly relieve your pain, call No Pain, or book an appointment online today.