Epidural Steroid Injections
What is an Epidural Steroid Injection?
An epidural steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure to treat nerve pain irritation caused by tissues next to the nerve pressing against it. It helps relieve neck, arm, back and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves due to spinal stenosis, disc herniation or bone spurs directly touching the spinal nerve.
How are Epidural Steroid Injections Performed?
The procedure is very simple and most patients are surprised at how quick it takes.
You will lie on an X-ray table and a local anaesthetic is administered to numb the treatment area to minimise discomfort. You will remain awake throughout the procedure in order for you to provide feedback to the doctor. A sedative is sometimes provided to relief any anxiety you may be experiencing.
A steroid injection includes a corticosteroid and an anaesthetic numbing agent. Small amounts are deposited into the epidural space of the spine (the area between the bony vertebra and the protective dura sac surrounding the spinal nerves and cord). The injection bathes the inflamed nerve root in order to decrease the irritation of the nerve root that is causing the pain. If the pain is caused by a herniated disc, it will not make the disc smaller, but flush away the proteins that are causing the swelling.
A fluoroscope (a viewing instrument using X-rays) is used to let the doctor watch the needle in real-time on a monitor, ensuring the needle goes to the exact location. Patients may feel some mild discomfort, but more often it is a feeling of pressure rather than pain. Once treatment is complete, the needle is removed and a small dressing is placed over the insertion point.
Recovery from treatment is typically very quick and you should be fine to walk around, either immediately or within a few hours of your injection. There may be some residual numbness from where the anaesthetic was administered, but this will wear off after a few hours. You will be monitored for a short time; after which you are free to return home. It is recommended that you have someone drive you as some patients do experience temporary leg weakness.
You should be well enough to resume your normal activities the following day, although you may experience some soreness around the injection site. This can be relieved by using a cold compress or over the counter painkillers (check with your doctor what is safe for you to take).
It is recommended that you record your pain levels over the next couple of weeks as you might initially notice an increase in pain, weakness or numbness as the medication wears off and the steroid begins to take effect. A follow-up appointment with your doctor is advised to address any concerns you may have.
In addition to mild soreness at the site of the injection, you may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Localised increase in pain
Risks and Complications
Risks involved with epidural steroid injections are relatively rare, but as with all invasive medical procedures, there are some associated risks. These include:
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reaction to the anaesthetic
- Elevated blood sugar levels (in people with diabetes)
- Stomach ulcers
- Severe arthritis of the hips (avascular necrosis)
If you experience any of the following, you should call your doctor immediately:
- Loss of function or feeling in the arms or legs
- A fever of 101oF for more than 24 hours (indication of an infection)
- A painful headache when sitting or standing that eases when you lie down. This could be an indication of a Dural puncture, also known as a spinal headache.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Severe pain that cannot be alleviated by over the counter medication
Outlook after an Epidural Steroid Injection
In general, epidural steroid injections are a low risk, non-surgical option for combatting back, arm, neck and leg pain. They are most commonly used for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica (radicular pain) and patient outcomes suggest that 50% of patients will experience pain relief that can last from days to years. This will allow your spinal condition to improve in conjunction with physical therapy and an exercise programme
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a Pain Management specialist, usually within 48 hours. Epidural spinal injections are available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Epidural Steroid Injections treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
Contact our team to find out more information regarding private Epidural Steroid Injections or to book an initial consultation.
If you live in and around the Kent area and would like to visit our One Ashford Hospital please click here
If you are based in and around Hertfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.