Who Is a Good Candidate for Epidural Steroid Injections?
What are epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections consist of the delivery of medicine 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 steroid 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. Diagnostic epidurals can help with identifying underlying causes of pain.
Who is a good candidate for epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections are beneficial for various health conditions, especially when inflamed spinal nerves are involved. A good candidate for the injection are those with conditions that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Herniated discs
- Slipped vertebrae
- Thickening of the ligaments in the spine due to spinal arthritis
- Joint cysts
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disk disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Neurogenic claudication
- Localized lower back pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Compression fractures
- Facet arthropathy
- Myofascial pain syndrome
If fluoroscopy is used for imaging guidance, a low-level radiation exposure will occur. This can be harmful to a fetus. Pregnant women should tell their provider before the procedure.
An epidural steroid injection can cause high blood sugar in individuals who are diabetic. This can last for hours or days. Individuals with diabetes should notify the providers prior to receiving an epidural steroid injection.
If glaucoma is present, the injection may temporarily increase blood pressure and pressure in the eye(s). Speak with the health care provider before undergoing this procedure.
Too many epidural steroid injections may weaken muscles and bones in the spine. The amount of epidural steroid injections is typically limited to two or three per year.
Discuss any herbs, supplements, over-the-counter medications, and blood thinners, including aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin, naproxen, heparin and clopidogrel, that are being consumed with the health care provider prior to receiving the injection. Interactions could occur.