Back Pain - Epidural Steroid Injection

Epidural injections deliver medication directly into an area around the spinal cord to help relieve pain.

Epidural injections deliver medication directly into an area around the spinal cord to help relieve pain.

Epidural injections deliver medication directly into an area around the spinal cord to help relieve pain

  • Most injections contain a drug to numb the pain, and a steroid to reduce inflammation, or both.
  • An anesthetic provides relief right away, but that relief is usually temporary at best.
  • Steroid medicine is intended to provide longer term pain relief.

The main use for epidural steroid injections is when you have radiating pain (pain that shoots down your leg or legs). This condition is frequently referred to as sciatica. If your healthcare provider recommends an epidural injection, prior to the procedure tell him or her about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). You should also ask about specific instructions to follow before and after the procedure. These include:

  • Medications you should not take before the procedure, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

Don't forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility.

If you contact your healthcare provider for evaluation of your back pain, be prepared to discuss your symptoms, how long you've had them, and if you have had them before.

  • Before your spinal injection, make a list of your questions/concerns/symptoms; your medications (including over-the-counter); and what makes your pain better or worse. Ask which medications you should, or should not, take before the injection; what the goals of the injection are; possible complications of the injection; and if there are other treatment options.
  • After your injection, you should know what procedure you had, what medication was injected, when you may start to see improvement, what symptoms you should report before your next appointment, and if you should exercise or modify your activity. In addition, you should understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider before having an epidural injection.

  • What is causing my back pain?
  • Why are you recommending an epidural injection? What are the risks? Are there any other options?
  • Can I eat before the test? If not, how many hours before the injection should I stop eating?
  • Which of my regular medications should I take before the injection?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?
  • Make sure you understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).


Also known as:

Steroid Injection for Back Pain
Pain in Lower Back
Pain in Back
Lower Back Pain
Epidural Injection for Back Pain
Back Shot
Back Pain - Injection
Back Pain - Epidural Steroid Injection
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