Epidural Injection Information

The following questions and answers should address most of your general questions regarding Epidural Injections. If you have specific questions not covered here, please contact us.
What is an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection is an injection of long lasting anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space. The epidural space is the area that surrounds the spinal cord and the nerves that exit the spinal cord.

What is the purpose of an epidural?

The medication injected reduces the swelling around the disc, nerves, and in the epidural space, this in turn reduces pain, tingling & numbness and other symptoms caused by nerve inflammation / irratation or swelling of tissue in the area.

How long does the injection take?

The actual injection takes only a few minutes.

Will the injection hurt?

The procedure involves inserting a needle through skin, so, there may be some mild discomfort involved. However, we numb the skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle prior to inserting the epidural needle. Most people describe the procedure as a feeling of pressure.

Will I be put to sleep for this procedure?

You do not need to be put to sleep for this procedure.

How is the injection performed?

It is done either with you sitting up or lying on your stomach. The skin on the back is cleaned with antiseptic solution and then the injection is carried out.

What should I expect after the injection?

After the injection you may feel pressure at the injection site. This pressure is from the medication and will only last for a few hours. You may have a "sore back" for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion. You should start noticing pain relief or a decrease in your symptoms by the 2nd or 3rd day.

What should I do after the procedure?

Perform all activities that you could previously tolerate. You may wish to put ice over the area of the injection to help with any soreness that you might have.

Can I go back to work the next day?

You should be able to return to work the next day. You may notice some back soreness from the injection. Keep in mind you probably will not feel the full benefit of the injection for 2 to 3 days.

How long will the effect of the medication last?

The medication starts working in 2 to 3 days and it's effects can last several days to a few months.

How many injections do I need to have?

It depends on how you respond to the procedure. If the first injection does not relieve your symptoms in about 3-4 days another injection may be needed. It is common to do epidurals in a series of 3 injections at one or two week intervals. Remember that everyone is different so it all depends on how you respond.

Can I have more than three injections?

In a six month period, we generally do not perform more than three injections. This is because the medication injected can lasts for several months. If you have not recieved adequate relief by the third injection, it is very unlikely that you will get any further benefit from more injections. Also, giving more injections will increase the likelihood of side effects from the medication. The thought that you can only get 3 injections in a lifetime is a myth. You can get as many as you need to help you with your symptoms as long as you are obtaining adequate relief.

Will my insurance pay for this procedure?

Yes, all insurance companies will cover the cost of this procedure. Some insurance companies may require pre-certification. If pre-certification is required, our office will help handle that for you. If you do not have insurance, our office will work out a payment plan for you.

We look forward to working with you. If you have any questions or concerns before your scheduled appointment time, please do not hesitate to call us.

For more detailed information go to Spine-Health.com.

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