(Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Caudal and NFI)
What is an epidural injection?
Epidural refers to the space outside the covering of the spinal cord and inside the spinal canal. This space runs the length of the spinal cord. Epidural injections provide diagnostic data and pain relief by delivering local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory action of steroid into the spinal area on the surface of the spinal column. The procedure is done under fluoroscopy (X-ray) guidance so your doctor can better target the direct source of your pain.
What is a steroid?
Steroids are a certain form of chemical found naturally in your body. Medically used steroids are potent anti-inflammatory agents. They are useful in the treatment of patients with radiculopathy caused by local inflammation due to disc injury, degenerative changes, and other causes. Most adverse effects are associated with long-term use of steroids. When steroids are used locally with injections, the associated risks are substantially less. Side effects can include indigestion, increased appetite, trouble sleeping, and occasionally headache. Tylenol can help with headaches after a steroid injection or dosing.
Why is it done?
An epidural injection may be ordered by your provider as a means to confirm a specific diagnosis and/or decrease pain and inflammation. In general, epidural injections are recommended to provide pain relief and enable patients to progress with their rehabilitation. Epidural injections may be an effective nonsurgical option for common conditions such as lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and lumbar spinal stenosis.
What is the typical procedure?
If you are having it performed and desire IV sedation they will require you to not eat 8 hours prior to the procedure and only clear liquids up to 4 hours prior. Nothing to eat or drink for the last 4 hours prior. If you are not receiving sedation just don’t eat or drink 2 hours prior please. You will be monitored closely with blood pressure, and blood oxygen monitoring device. Local anesthetic and freezing spray will be used before the actual injection to diminish any discomfort. The physician then locates, under fluoroscopy (X-ray), a specific anatomical target site or location that is near the problem area. Contrast is used to confirm proper placement of medication, typically anesthetic and steroid, is then injected. The Procedure may cause some slight discomfort, however is typically not painful.
What should I expect following the procedure?
Initially you may have some increase in discomfort due to the initial irritation from the procedure and ice can be helpful. The pain relief will begin over 48 to 72 hours after the procedure and often times a series of 3 procedures is ordered if indicated. Certainly if you have any concerns prior to or following the procedure please call our office at 850-484-4080 or call the surgical center where the procedure was performed