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What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?

Epidural steroid injections can be very effective in the management of back pain, neck pain and sciatica if appropriately prescribed and implemented

Epidural steroid injections (ESI) are a pain management technique and often prescribed to relieve the symptoms associated with sciatic nerve pain, symptoms associated with a lumbar or cervical herniated disc, and neck and associated arm pain. Epidural injections are utilized for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Typically, epidural injections are considered a last resort in determining whether or not surgery is indicated.

The purpose of this article is to present the effectiveness of epidural injections as a means of managing back pain and associated nerve pain. We also provide a nice video of how the procedure is performed and what you can expect from treatment.

Are Epidural Steroid Injections Effective?

Epidural steroid injections can be very effective in the management of back pain, neck pain and sciatica if appropriately prescribed and implemented.

Epidural steroid injection is a nonsurgical approach to back pain used for both therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. Disc herniation and spinal stenosis can cause nerve irritation that usually results in back and leg pain.

The procedure involves the injection of an anesthetic (such as Marcane) and a steroid (usually DepoMedrol) into the spine for the purpose of shrinking swollen nerve tissue and reducing pain.

Usually 3 to 4 ESIs are performed over the course of 4 to 6 weeks. How the patient responds to the injections can help your physician determine the best course for future treatment.

One important comment here: If your physician recommends 1 injection a month, politely decline treatment. According to Dr. Michael Cronin of The Pain Institute in Louisville, KY, ESIs are most effective when performed 7 – 10 days apart as opposed to monthly.

The reason is due to the length of time the steroid is actually effective. Maximum benefit of an ESI is around 48 hours and is completely depleted by 7 days. At one month intervals, you would be basically starting over, making the entire process MUCH less effective. (Read full article)

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections For Low Back Pain And Sciatica

Dr. Richard Staehler, a Physiatrist with NeuroSpine Center of Wisconsin, presents a nice article on epidural steroid injections.

Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a common treatment option for many forms of low back pain and leg pain. They have been used for low back problems since 1952 and are still an integral part of the non-surgical management of sciatica and low back pain. The goal of the injection is pain relief; at times the injection alone is sufficient to provide relief, but commonly an epidural steroid injection is used in combination with a comprehensive rehabilitation program to provide additional benefit.

In This Article:

  • Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Low Back Pain and Sciatica
  • How Epidural Steroid Injections Work
  • Indications for Lumbar Epidural Injections
  • Epidural Injection Procedure
  • Epidural Steroid Injection Pain Relief Success Rates
  • Epidural Steroid Injections: Risks and Side Effects

Most practitioners will agree that, while the effects of the injection tend to be temporary – providing relief from pain for one week up to one year – an epidural can be very beneficial for a patient during an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. Importantly, an injection can provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to progress with a rehabilitative stretching and exercise program. If the initial injection is effective for a patient, he or she may have up to three in a one-year period. (Click here to read the full article)

Epidural Steroid Injection Video

Spine Health presents a very nice video on exactly how the procedure is performed.

A lumbar epidural steroid injection delivers anti-inflammatory medicine directly to the affected area of the back to reduce inflammation that may be irritating the nerve root and causing low back and/or leg pain (sciatica). This interactive video provides a clear picture of the injection process and effects. Click this link to view the video. Click here to watch the Epidural Video

Do you have a question about epidural injections or some other form of pain management to resolve your back pain, neck pain, or sciatica? We have specific Patient Guides that discuss specific pain management techniques in detail, including epidural steroid injections. If you would like access to these informative and easy to understand Patient Guides, just click this link and we’ll make sure you get your copy today. Patients’ Guide To Epidural Injections

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