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Epidural Injection

Accurate Diagnosis and Powerful Pain Relief

Epidural injections are commonly used to diagnose and treat conditions such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, which can cause pain in the back, leg, neck or arm. An epidural injection may include a numbing medicine that helps determine the source of the pain and a corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation. Physicians at National Spine & Pain Centers, with specialized training in pain management, can accurately diagnose, target and relieve the source of your pain to help you return to an active lifestyle.

What is an epidural injection?

Epidural means “around the spinal cord.” Through an epidural injection, medication is placed into that space of the spinal column. This space is located between the dura (a membrane surrounding the nerve roots) and the interior surface of the spinal canal formed by the vertebrae.
After a local skin anesthetic is applied to numb the injection site, a needle is advanced into the epidural space. To ensure accuracy and safety, our physicians perform the procedure under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, using a contrast agent to confirm needle placement.
Corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication is delivered into the epidural space to shrink the swelling around nerve roots, relieving pressure and pain.

How long does it take?

Epidural injections are performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically requires 20 to 30 minutes, including preparation time. Afterwards, there is a short period of observed recovery time.

How often should this procedure be done?

Up to three injections may be given within a six-month time frame. Usually, the injections are performed two to three weeks apart. A set of three injections is the norm; however, you may gain considerable relief after the first or second injection. In that instance, further injections may not be necessary.

What are the expected results?

Epidural injections are considered very safe and effective treatment for providing pain relief. In the hours following the procedure, you may have soreness for one to two days. It is recommended that you take it easy the day of the procedure, but return to your usual activities the following day. The benefit from these injections will typically occur two days following the procedure.
Although the injections do not change the underlying condition, they can break the cycle of pain and inflammation and allow the body to compensate for the condition. These injections are commonly coupled with other treatments such as physical therapy in an attempt to either maximize the benefit or prolong the effects. In this way, the injections can provide benefits that outlast the effects of the medicine itself.

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