When can an Epidural Steroid Injection relieve Pain?

Epidural steroid injections are highly effective in providing pain relief to patients with lower back pain and leg pain. Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a non-surgical method of pain management for patients with sciatica and lower back pain.

The epidural space is the outer part of the spinal canal. It is filled with CSF or cerebrospinal fluid. The CSF helps to maintain pressure in the brain and also serves as a cushion, protecting the spine against injury. Inflammation in the epidural space can cause pain and prevent healing after injury or spinal conditions.

ESIs directly deliver a mixture of steroid medication and a numbing anesthetic into the epidural space in the spine. This provides instant pain relief that may last up to a few months.

Conditions that might benefit from epidural steroid injections include –

  • Injury or trauma
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bone spurs

The injection is placed strategically in the affected area. The steroids in the injection actively work to reduce inflammation and the anesthetic immediately stops pain. Saline is also added to the ESI to dilute the inflammation-producing chemicals.

ESIs may provide long-term pain relief. However, they are often used as part of an integrated treatment plan customized for each individual patient. For example, when a patient experiences pain relief with an ESI, s/he may be advised to go for physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to prevent further injury.