Epidural Steroid Injection: What is it? and What is it good for?Wednesday, January 17th, 2018, 8:00 am
“Epidural” is the location. It is a space on top of the spinal cord nerves. (Similar location to the epidural injection that some women get before delivering a baby).
“Steroid” is the medicine (Cortisone) that is injected into that space. This is the same steroid used in topical steroid/cortisone creams that treat inflammation (i.e. poison ivy/rashes). And it does the same thing for the nerves. It takes away the inflammation, swelling and throbbing that cause pain.
This treatment is effective when there has been damage to nerves in the spine when patients are experiencing burning, aching, and sometimes electric type pain or shooting pain down the buttocks and leg, or down the neck and arm.
The best use for epidural steroid injections is to calm down pinched nerves in the spine. The pinching is usually caused by disk herniation or by bone spurs from spine arthritis. By using steroid injections, the physician is often able to stop the pain and avoid the need for spine surgery.
The steroid medicine is injected into the spine nerves deep in the back or neck. This involves injection with a needle. The good news, it usually hurts about as much as getting your blood drawn.
The physician will locate the affected area with x-ray vision and put the steroid medicine directly on the swollen, angry nerve. Patients often report immediate relief of symptoms.
If you are experiencing this type of pain, contact The Spine Center at The Orthopaedic Institute. Our spine specialists will work with you to decide if epidural steroid injection treatment is right for you.
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