Epidural injections are a type of procedure used to alleviate spinal nerve pain, caused by damage, irritation, or inflammation within the spinal canal. These procedures involve an injection of steroids into the epidural space, providing pain relief by reducing inflammation of the nerves and discs.
Epidural injections are suitable for individuals suffering from spinal nerve pain caused by a build-up of inflammatory fluid, chemical radiculitis, or spinal stenosis.
The local anaesthetic will numb the area for a few hours. If the individual's pain reduces by 70% or even 50%, the diagnosis can be made that this percentage of pain is originating from the facet joints and associated muscles. The steroids will take effect after 24 hours, with their impact gradually increasing over the following four weeks, reducing inflammation in the affected area. Some individuals may get medium to long-term relief.
Common side effects include local tenderness, bruising, or swelling over the needle site, low blood pressure, facial flushing, heavy legs, or trouble passing urine for several hours, and increased pain for several days.
Uncommon side effects include allergies, infections, or drug reactions. Some individuals may experience headaches. If the needle goes through the spinal sac and enters the spinal fluid, the individual may experience headaches, maintain oral fluids, take caffeine, and contact their Painless doctor.
Rare side effects include bowel, bladder or sexual dysfunction, and/or paralysis due to an epidural hematoma, abscess or spinal cord stroke. Steroids used in epidurals are not recommended as they can cause permanent adhesions and pain.