Pain Management (epidural steroid injection)
An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that
can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal
nerves due to spinal stenosis or disc herniation. Medicines are delivered
to the epidural space, which is a fat-filled area between the bone and
the protective sac of the spinal nerves. Pain relief may last for several
days or even years. The goal is to reduce pain so that you may resume
normal activities and a physical therapy program.
The photo above is a side view of the spine. The epidural space is a fat-filled
area that lies between the vertebra and the dura sac, which surrounds
and protects the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Many patients experience some pain relief benefits from epidural steroid
injections. For those who experience only mild pain relief, one to two
more injections may be performed, usually in 1-4 week intervals, to achieve
full effect. Duration of pain relief varies, lasting for weeks or years.
Injections are done in conjunction with a physical therapy and/or home
exercise program to strengthen the back muscles and prevent future pain episodes.