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Quick Guide: Treating Back and General Pain with Epidural Injections

Last updated 6 years ago

Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure used for pain management of the neck, back, arms or legs.  The injection includes both a long-lasting steroid and a local numbing agent. 

*Please visit New York Pain Medicine online for an animated and narrated demonstration of Epidural Steriod Injections. (Please click "Head, Neck and Spine", then ""Procedures" to access the informational video.)
When should an ESI be used?
An ESI should be used for either acute or chronic pain conditions caused by inflammation of either the exiting nerves or the surrounding disc.  Patients should not receive an ESI if they have infections, are pregnant or have bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinners. 

What happens during the procedure?
There are two areas of placement for an epidural injection: lumbar and cervical.  For a lumbar ESI, a local anesthetic is given to numb the lower back.  Once the area is numb, a needle is inserted into the epidural space.  After ensuring that the needle is correctly placed, the steroid is injected.  A cervical ESI is similar, but the injection is administered in the neck without the use of local anesthetic in the injectate.
Patients are briefly monitored after injection. Most patients can walk around immediately after the procedure; however they will be unable to drive for several hours. 

What are the results?
Many patients experience immediate pain relief.  Depending on your results, up to 3 injections may be administered within a 6 month period.  Patient’s followup is done after one week of injection to determine how well it worked and what’s the next step.  Duration of pain relief varies from patient to patient.

What are the risks?
While ESI is safe and unlikely to result in any complications, no procedure is 100% fail-safe.  Serious complications come as a result of either bleeding or infection.  Temporary side effects may include pain at the injection site, temporary weakness from the local anesthesia or generalized headache symptoms.

*Please visit New York Pain Medicine online for an animated and narrated demonstration of Epidural Steriod Injections. (Please click "Head, Neck and Spine", then ""Procedures" to access the informational video.)

If you suffer from back pain, ESI may be a viable option for you. Call New York Pain Medicine at (888)755-2664 to schedule a consultation.  We are dedicated to giving NYC proper diagnoses, accurate treatment plans and a team approach that results in a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.


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