Epidural Steroid Injection & Pain Management
Azalea Orthopedics uses a range of pain management techniques to alleviate the symptoms of pain, including epidural steroid injections. Epidurals are typically used when all other pain medications have failed, yet the patient still experiences a great deal of pain. Our expert orthopedics team will work with each individual patient to address their pain in the most effective way. Depending on your unique situation and pain symptoms, an epidural steroid injection may be right for you.
What is an Epidural Steroid Injection?
An epidural steroid injection is a medication that is injected into the epidural space of your back. It is most commonly used in the treatment of spinal stenosis, but can be used for other orthopedic conditions as well. An epidural steroid injection can alleviate back pain by reducing the inflammation affecting a patient’s back and legs.
An orthopedic doctor performs this treatment by injecting the medication into the epidural space with a needle. The needle is carefully inserted using the help of a special X-ray, a fluoroscopy, to help guide the needle into the correct position. The fluoroscopy allows your orthopedic doctor to see the exact location of the injection in order to alleviate the most pain. Additionally, the fluoroscopy aids the doctor in seeing other delicate tissues and nerves in the area to avoid damage. The entire procedure normally takes about 15 minutes and can provide pain relief for 2-3 weeks.
Side Effects of an Epidural Steroid Injection
As with any medication or treatment, there are some side effects to be aware of and to speak with your orthopedic physician about. The most common side effect is stinging near the injection site, also called “steroid flush.” Some patients have stated their pain worsens in the 24 hours after the injection, but then subsides considerably. Typically, the “steroid flush” only occurs during the first injection.
If you experience any of the follow symptoms, please call 911 immediately and notify your doctor:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain and/or swelling at the injection site
- Swelling and/or numbness of the lips and tongue
These may be signs of an uncommon and severe reaction to the epidural.
Preparing for the Procedure
Prior to the procedure, there are some details to understand, speak with your doctor about, and arrange once the procedure is set. These include the following:
- Do not undergo an epidural steroid injection if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Tell your orthopedic doctor all of the medication you are taking, even over the counter painkillers like Tylenol or aspirin and herbal supplements.
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking blood thinners and if you should stop them prior to the procedure.
- On the day of the procedure, please arrange for someone to drive you home. You cannot drive after the injection.
- Rest after the procedure and do not partake in any strenuous activities.
- If there is soreness around the injection site, you can apply ice to alleviate this.
Pain relief may take up to 24-48 hours to fully kick in.
If you have any questions or concerns, always ask the orthopedics team at Azalea Orthopedics.
Schedule an Orthopedics Appointment with Azalea Orthopedics Today!
If you are suffering from severe back pain and medication is not alleviating your symptoms, contact Azalea Orthopedics. Our team of expert physicians will evaluate your condition and determine the most appropriate course of treatment. We look forward to alleviating your pain soon!