An epidural is an injection of medicine into the epidural space (the space along your spine just outside the spinal fluid). Epidural Steroid Injections can be done anywhere along the spine where the epidurals are given:
- Cervical (neck)
- Thoracic (upper to mid back)
- Lumbar (lower back)
- Caudal (tailbone)
An epidural steroid is used to reduce the amount of inflammation on the nerve roots as they come off the spinal cord. Many conditions such as arthritis of the spine, bulging and/ or ruptured disks, spinal stenosis, and postherpetic neuralgia (continued pain after shingles) can cause nerve root irritation.
After taking a thorough history and talking in detail to the doctor, you will be brought into a treatment room. You will be asked to sit on the side of a stretcher or lie on your stomach if you will be having a caudal epidural. After you have signed the consent form, the doctor will come in to begin the procedure which usually takes 15-20 minutes to complete. The doctor will first numb your skin then place a needle into the epidural space of your spine. Once in the epidural space, a mixture of local anesthetic and steroid will be injected. The needle is then removed and you will be asked to lie on the side that bothers you most. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing will closely monitored over the next 15 minutes. After this initial recovery period, you will go into the recovery room for 30 minutes or until you can walk on your own.