Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used in situations of radicular pain, which is a radiating pain that is transmitted away from the spine by an irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the low back ( lumbar radiculopathy ), such as from lumbar spinal stenosis , cervical spinal stenosis, herniated disc , and foraminal encroachment, causes back pain that goes down the leg. Epidural injection is also used as a minimally invasive procedure to treat nerve compression in the neck (cervical spine), referred to as cervical radiculopathy , which causes pain.
If an epidural is recommended then the patient will likely undergo an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan prior to treatment so as to ascertain the exact location of the troubled nerves. Epidurals are mostly conducted at outpatient clinics, or at the patient’s local surgery. Only qualified health professionals can administer the injections, such as anesthesiologists, radiologists, neurologists, and surgeons. Medical centers often have specific pain management clinicians who conduct epidurals and can advise on other methods to relieve neck pain from trauma such as whiplash , spinal stenosis, and arthritis.
General pre/post instructions
Patients can eat a light meal within a few hours before the procedure. If a patient is an insulin dependent diabetic, they must not change their normal eating pattern prior to the procedure. Patients may take their routine medications. (. high blood pressure and diabetic medications). Patients should not take pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications the day of their procedure. Patients have to be hurting prior to this procedure. They may not take medications that may give pain relief or lessen their usual pain. These medicines can be restarted after the procedure if they are needed. If a patient is on Coumadin (blood thinners) or Glucophage (a diabetic medicine) they must notify the office so the timing of these medications can be explained.