Our Long Island pain management doctor is an expert in epidural steroid injections. The injections are a common non-surgical treatment for irritated spinal nerves, which can be the result of a herniated disc, an injury and other conditions. During the procedure, powerful anti-inflammatory medication is injected into the space around the spinal cord, known as the epidural space. This reduces inflammation, pain and numbness.
Benefits of Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections reduce swelling, taking pressure off the spinal nerve roots and temporarily alleviating pain.
Helps With Numbness and Tingling
Targeting inflammation also helps with the numbness and tingling associated with irritated spinal nerves.
Provides Diagnostic Information
In some patients, an epidural for back pain provides diagnostic information, helping to pinpoint the source of the problem.
What is the Epidural Steroid Injection Procedure Like?
Our NY pain management doctor, Dr. Antigone Argyriou, will perform an exam and chat with you about your medical history and needs to determine if it’s the right treatment for you.
During the procedure, Dr. Argyriou will first inject local anesthesia near the affected area. Then, she’ll insert the epidural needle and use fluoroscopic guidance (real-time x-ray imaging) to reach the right location. Finally, she’ll inject the corticosteroid medication directly into the epidural space.
An epidural for back pain can last weeks, months or even up to a year for some patients.
A cortisone shot is considered systemic, because the medication enters the bloodstream. An epidural steroid injection, on the other hand, delivers the medication directly at or near the source of the nerve pain, offering more targeted relief.
The procedure isn’t painful, but there can be mild discomfort. The level of discomfort depends on the type of injection. There are several different paths to reach the epidural space. Interlaminar epidural steroid injections, for example, cause minimal discomfort, because the needle is inserted away from the nerve roots and into the back side of the spine.
That said, with any epidural steroid injection, Dr. Argyriou uses local anesthesia to numb the area before inserting the epidural needle, so you won’t feel much. After the procedure, you can have minor soreness that lasts up to three days.
After an epidural steroid injection, you should not drive for 12 hours. Avoid applying heat to the injection site or using steam rooms or saunas for 72 hours. You can resume your regular daily activities 24 hours after your injection.