A lumbar epidural steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can help alleviate neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflammation in the spinal nerves. During the procedure, medicine is delivered to the epidural space, a fat-filled area between the bone and the protective sac of the spinal nerves. After injection, patients may experience significant pain relief that may last up to several years.
During the procedure, a physician will perform the following steps:
Prepare the patient with a local anesthetic.
Accurately position and insert the needle under X-ray guidance.
Inject contrast dye to visualize where the medication will be distributed.
Inject the medication into the epidural space.
For patients experiencing mild pain relief, one or two more injections may be performed in 1 to 4 week intervals to achieve the full effect. The duration and extent of pain relief varies across patients, but may last several weeks to years. Typically, injections are performed in conjunction with physical therapy or at-home exercise programs to strengthen the muscles and prevent future episodes of severe pain.
Lumbar epidural steroid injections are used to treat a variety of conditions. Indications include the following:
Lumbar disc herniation
Degenerative disc disease
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Cysts in the facet joint or nerve root