Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) for Low Back Pain

Do you suffer from back pain or sciatica? ESI’s have been used since the 1950s to relieve sciatica and pain in the lower back. The injection may be administered by itself or followed by a rehabilitation program, depending on your unique circumstances. A lumbar epidural steroid injection or ESI delivers medicine directly to the epidural space of your spine. The medicine helps reduce inflammation and provide pain relief in the back and legs. Sometimes, this procedure is used to encourage healing after an injury.

Who Needs a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

When you have intense pain in your legs and arms due to inflammation of spinal nerves, an ESI can provide relief. This pain is often caused by a narrowing of the passages through which your nerves travel throughout the body. When this occurs, the spinal nerves can become inflamed.

Common causes of back and limb pain include the following:

  • Bone Spurs
  • Slipped vertebrae
  • Joint cyst
  • Herniated disks
  • Spinal arthritis

A lumbar epidural steroid injection opens nerve passages to provide fast pain relief.

What Happens During a Lumbar Spinal Epidural Injection?

During the procedure, you will have an IV inserted to deliver medication to help you relax. Dr. Lewis will ask you to lie on your side on an x-ray table. X-ray guidance, also called fluoroscopy, helps the doctor see the lower back and ensure that the injection is properly administered.

Before the procedure, we scrub your back with sterile soap. Then, Dr. Lewis injects numbing medication to prevent discomfort and pain during the procedure. You will experience a slight sting as the medicine takes effect. This typically lasts for a few seconds. Once the local anesthetic activates, Dr. Lewis inserts a small needle and uses the x-ray guidance to place it within the epidural space of your spine. Contrast dye is also injected to help with the placement process. Finally, the numbing medicine and steroid are injected.

Risks Associated with Spinal Epidural Injection

Typically, the lumbar epidural steroid injection doesn’t cause you any issues. However, some people may experience side effects. These side effects may include the following:

  • Flushing in the chest or face
  • Increase in temperature that may last several days
  • Water retention
  • Sleeping problems
  • Menstrual changes
  • Anxiety

Although it’s rare, some people have an increase in pain following the procedure. This is typically temporary but may last a few days.
Other rare side effects include the following:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Paralysis
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage

Restrictions Following the Lumbar Spinal Epidural Injection

Have someone drive you to the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic on the day of the procedure. To perform this procedure, we will check to make sure that someone over 18 is present to take you home. You can also go home in a taxi. This rule is to ensure your health and safety.
Avoid heat near the injection site for the rest of the day. You won’t be able to take a bath or shower or get into a hot tub on the day of the procedure. Unless Dr. Lewis or a staff member tells you otherwise, you can resume normal medications and diet following this lumber spinal epidural injection.

When Do I Need to Talk to Dr. Lewis After the Procedure?

If you experience new numbness in your arms or legs or severe pain, call our office right away. If you get a severe headache or have a temperature of 100° F or more, it’s time to seek medical care. Additionally, check the injection area for redness or discharge that may indicate an infection. If so, get in touch with our staff as soon as possible.

Contact the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic for more information about the lumbar epidural steroid injection procedure. Call us at (601) 366-1011 to make an appointment. We’ll find a solution that works for you.