Epidural injections is a procedure that involves the injection of medication into the back, in a space that surrounds the spinal cord (also known as the epidural space). The aim of this procedure is to help provide relief to inflammation or pain within the affected area of the back. The relief may either be temporary or prolonged. Medications used in the injection procedure include anesthetics, steroids, and anti-inflammatories. Patients undergoing this procedure may experience reduced swelling and pain in the region surrounding the spinal nerve roots and damaged nerves, which may heal in due time.
Forms of pain that may necessitate the need for an epidural injection include:
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Failed back surgery
- Other issues or conditions affecting the spinal nerves and surrounding tissues or bone structure
The injection will occur via the use of a syringe that will be filled with the necessary medication, which may vary on a case-by-case basis. In addition to the injection, imaging guidance equipment such as a CT or fluoroscopy will be available as they will involve the use of x-rays to ensure that the needle is correctly applied to the appropriate spot for the injection. The actual injection itself may last only a few minutes, but that may take longer due the prep work involved. Following the procedure, patients may be moved to a bed or a chair to rest for as little as a few minutes to possibly a an hour depending on how the procedure goes. This is to ensure that the patient doesn’t experience any type of reaction to the medication applied during the procedure.
Patients will be provided with an anesthetic prior to the injection to numb the area. Patients may experience tingling or numbing sensation during the procedure, as well as a burning sensation that may vary depending on how much swelling takes place. Patients may also experience difficulty engaging in mobile activities such as walking on their own. Such difficulties are expected to subside within a few hours. The effects from the epidural injection may not necessarily be felt immediately. The pain may gradually subside within 48 hours or in some cases, may last for a period of time that range from a few days to a few months.