Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

A Game Changer For Chronic Lower Back Pain

What is it?

A lumbar epidural steroid injection is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for managing radicular pain. This procedure injects anti-inflammatory medication, such as steroids, into the epidural space around the spinal nerves in the patient’s lower back. The steroids that are used can help to relieve lower back and radiating leg pain by reducing the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions. Steroids are also theorized to help stabilize nerve endings that cause pain. As such, lumbar epidural steroid injections are an effective treatment for patients who might be experiencing lumbar radiculopathy, also known as sciatica. Also, this procedure could be a good option for those who are struggling with low back and/or radiating leg pain and/or foot pain, lumbar disc bulges/herniations, or lumbar degenerative disc disease.

How should I prepare for a lumbar epidural steroid injection?

It’s important to have a thorough conversation with your provider prior to the procedure. If you are pregnant, or might be, make sure to let your doctor know, as fluoroscopy imaging (a type of x-ray imaging) is commonly used during lumbar epidural steroid injection procedures. During this preliminary conversation, you should also inform your doctor of any medications that you are currently taking. This includes herbs, supplements, and other non-prescription drugs. Depending on the medication, your provider might instruct you to reduce or pause your intake of certain prescriptions, such as blood thinners. Your treatment plan might also require that you limit your food and drink intake for a certain amount of time before the procedure. Additionally, your provider could order an MRI or CT scan before the lumbar epidural steroid injection for accuracy.

How long does a lumbar epidural steroid injection take?

This is an outpatient procedure, which means that patients are usually able to go home on the same day, although it is recommended that patients arrange for someone to drive them home. The injection itself typically takes about 15-30 minutes. With lumbar epidural steroid injections, the pain may feel like it is becoming worse for about two to three days after the procedure. However, the injections will start to work within two to seven days, at which point symptoms will begin to improve. The pain relief from this procedure can last anywhere from several days to a few months, or even longer.  

If you have been struggling with lower back and radiating leg pain, reach out to our team at Apex Interventional Pain & Spine today. We’ll explore if a lumbar epidural steroid injection is the right option for you to get back on track for a pain-free, comfortable body!