Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
A lumbar epidural steroid injection delivers a pain-relieving steroid and numbing medication to treat leg pain resulting from a compressed spinal nerve root. If you are suffering from leg pain, it may be a herniated disc compressing or irritating the exiting nerve root. The compression of the exiting spinal nerve causes pain or numbness in the legs and feet, which is called sciatica.
This epidural steroid injection can significantly reduce the swelling and inflammation, providing relief of pain and symptoms. If you have an MRI confirming a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis (nerve compression) and conservative care, including physical therapy, have not relieved your pain, you may be a candidate for a lumbar epidural steroid injection.
In addition to pain relief, the lumbar epidural steroid injection can be used diagnostically to confirm the affected spinal level and source of the pain. If the steroid provides temporary relief and the pain returns, patients may benefit from a least invasive spine procedure called an endoscopic discectomy.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
Best candidates for injection are patients suffering from sciatica, leg or chronic low back pain that has lasted for more than 12 weeks. If these patients have failed conservative treatments such as over the counter medication, and physical therapy, they could benefit from a lumbar epidural steroid injection and least invasive surgery.
What Happens During A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
The Injection takes place at the doctor’s office or a surgical center. The procedure is outpatient, least invasive, and takes about 15-30 minutes. Patients receive conscious sedation or local skin numbing to be comfortable during the procedure. The patient will lie down on the procedure table, and their low back will be cleaned, and local anesthetic injected at the appropriate level. Using fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray), the doctor will confirm and guide their needle to the affected exiting spinal nerve in your back to deliver the steroid and numbing medication.
What Should You Expect After A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
Some patients experience soreness around the skin injection site for a few hours. You are encouraged to move your neck around to determine the amount of relief provided by the injection. Most routine activities and work can be resumed the following day. Pain relief from the lumbar epidural steroid injection typically begins shortly after the procedure, and the duration of pain relief is variable and depends on the severity of the spinal condition. Some patients will experience short-term relief 2-5 days and others for months.