Epidural injections for back pain
ESI; Spinal injection for back pain; Back pain injection; Steroid injection – epidural; Steroid injection – back
An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is the delivery of powerful anti-inflammatory medicine directly into the space outside of the sac of fluid around your spinal cord. This area is called the epidural space.
ESI is not the same as epidural anesthesia given just before childbirth or certain types of surgery.
ESI is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic. The procedure is done in the following way:
- You change into a gown.
- You then lie face down on an x-ray table with a pillow under your stomach. If this position causes pain, you either sit up or lie on your side in a curled position.
- The health care provider cleans the area of your back where the needle will be inserted. Medicine may be used to numb the area. You may be given medicine to help you relax.
- The doctor inserts a needle into your back. The doctor likely uses an x-ray machine or sonogram that produces real-time images to help guide the needle to the correct spot in your lower back.
- A mixture of steroid and numbing medicine is injected into the area. This medicine decreases swelling and pressure on the larger nerves around your spine and helps relieve pain. The numbing medicine can also identify the painful nerve.
- You may feel some pressure during the injection. Most of the time, the procedure is not painful. It is important not to move during the procedure because the injection needs to be very precise.
- You are watched for 15 to 20 minutes after the injection before going home.