What are epidural injections?
Epidural injections or disc injections, are a minimally invasive procedure in which neck, back, arm, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves is relieved. Injections into the fat filled area between the protective sack for spinal nerves and the vertebra, are provided in an effort to temporarily relieve the patients’ pain. Results may vary; some patients experience relief for days or even years. The primary goal of epidural injections is to relieve pain so patients can resume normal activity and seek out a physiotherapy regime.
Frequently asked questions:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative discs
Patients exhibiting neck, back, arm, or leg pain caused by herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, sciatica, or degenerative discs may be suitable candidates for disc injections.
Prior to your procedure, all medical history is examined, and diagnostic images reviewed to determine the placement of injection. Patients that are taking blood thinners or antibiotics may be asked to discontinue prior to treatment. Please consult with your doctor prior to treatment. If the patient has any questions, they are answered at this time.
Once the patient is in a gown and on the operating table, they are given a local anesthetic. While on your stomach, small needles are placed into the targeted epidural space aided by a fluoroscope and the targeted tissues are then treated with the injection of a steroid.
As most patients can walk immediately following the procedure and are discharged the same day, please ensure you have arranged for transportation to and from your appointment. Following the observation period post-procedure, patients are usually asked to perform movements that would typically result in pain.
Patients can typically return to normal activity the day after their procedure. If pain or swelling occurs in the injection areas, patients are able to manage using ice and over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil.
Pain relief varies on a patient by patient basis. Where insufficient pain relief is realized, additional injections may be recommended. With successful treatment, pain relief can last weeks or years. With sufficient pain relief, a physiotherapy regime is then recommended to strengthen back muscles and prevent future flare ups.
As epidural injections are a relatively safe procedure, minor risks including localized swelling or numbness, nerve pain, or infection.
With the injection of a corticosteroid, patients may also experience weight gain, water retention, flushing, mood swings or insomnia, and elevated blood sugar in patients with diabetes. Numbness usually experienced post-procedure usually resolves 8 hours post-procedure. It is recommended you discuss any medications you are currently taking with your doctor prior to your procedure.