An effective treatment option for this pain is an epidural steroid injection. This is a sterile, non-surgical procedure which we perform under fluoroscopic guidance. Using an X-ray machine, we introduce a needle into the epidural space surrounding the irritated/pinched nerve that is causing your pain. Once the location is confirmed with a small amount of contrast dye, steroid medication is injected.
Tell your physician if you are taking any blood-thinning medications prior to scheduling this procedure.
Blood thinners may increase the risk of bleeding, which can compress your nerves and cause permanent damage and even paralysis.
You may notice a difference within 20-30 minutes of the procedure. This is typically short-lived pain relief that is due to the local anesthetic medication used. Long-term pain relief from the steroid medication may take 3-5 days to take place. Do not be alarmed if your pain returns in the day or two after the injection. The steroid has likely not taken effect yet at that point in time.
This varies on a case-by-case basis. Oftentimes patients will experience up to 3-6 months of relief from an injection. Some patients require multiple injections before obtaining adequate relief.
We use a generous amount of local anesthetic to numb the area prior to any injection. This procedure is generally very well tolerated.
For your safety, we try to limit the total amount of steroids you are given over the course of a year. For this reason, we do not typically perform these procedures more frequently than every 3 months.