What Is an Epidural Steroid Injection?


Epidural steroid injections consist of the delivery of corticosteroids into the epidural space via a syringe. The epidural space is the fat-filled area covering the spinal cord. It protects the spinal cord and surrounding nerves from damage. Many people confuse an epidural anesthesia injection, widely known to relieve pain as women are giving birth, with an epidural injection.

Epidural injections can help manage chronic pain and relieve pain during and after surgery. They can provide long-lasting pain relief with few side effects. There are various risks and benefits of an epidural steroid injection.

Conditions that may benefit from epidural steroid injections

Epidural steroid injections help relieve pain resulting from inflamed spinal nerves or narrowed nerve passages leading from the spine to the arms and legs. They are often prescribed to treat numerous conditions, including, but not limited to, the following:

When to avoid an epidural steroid injection?

As with any procedure, disclose all current and past health conditions to the healthcare provider prior to scheduling an epidural steroid injection. Pregnant women should notify their health care provider since the imaging guidance can emit low-level radiation, which may harm the fetus. Diabetics may experience hyperglycemia for hours or days following an epidural steroid injection. Those with glaucoma could experience a temporary increase in blood pressure and eye pressure. Other contraindications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Those who are allergic to contrast, anesthetic or corticosteroids
  • Those with a bleeding disorder
  • Those with a systemic or local infection
  • Those in congestive heart failure