Epidural injections administer local anesthetic and/or steroids into the epidural space. Steroid medication is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. A salt water (saline) solution may be added to flush chemicals that cause inflammation. Short or long acting anesthetic medications are used to relieve pain. The various pain syndromes include lumbar radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, arthritis, cancer related pain and neuropathy.
Epidural injections are short outpatient procedures that can be given at a surgery center, hospital, or your doctor’s clinic. You will wear a gown for the procedure. You will be positioned sitting up or lying on your side or stomach. Before you receive the epidural injection, your lower back area will be sterilized, and numbed with an anesthetic. You may receive a relaxing medication before your procedure begins.
Your doctor will use a live X-ray image (fluoroscopy) to carefully insert and guide the needle to the epidural space. A contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement. A hypoallergenic dye is necessary for patients with allergies to shellfish or iodine dye. Next, the medication solution is delivered to the epidural space, and the needle is removed.
You will be monitored for several minutes before you can return home. Your doctor will instruct you on how to relieve temporary mild pain at the injection site. Most people can resume their regular activities the next day.