What are Epidural Steroid Injections?
An Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) is a safe, non-surgical treatment that combines a corticosteroid with a local anesthetic pain relief medicine. Relieving swelling and inflammation can take pressure off nerves, thus providing pain relief. A common method of treating inflammation associated with lower back, leg, or neck-related arm pain, ESIs are performed by injecting into the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots.
How Are Epidural Steroid Injections performed?
Most epidural steroid injections are placed between the lamina, which are portions of the bones on the back side of the spine that are arranged like shingles. The needle is aimed upwards toward the head and passes between two adjacent lamina. Another type of injection is a transforaminal steroid injection, where the needle passes along the course of the nerve and enters the spine from a more diagonal direction. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and usually takes no more than 5-10 minutes, followed by a brief 15-20 minute recovery before discharge home. Patients can usually return to their pre-injection level of activities the following day.