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Relief Duration from Epidural Steroid Injections

You may associate epidural injections with labor and delivery, but did you know epidural injections can also be used to relieve back and neck pain? These anesthetic injections are not just for women who are about to give birth. When combined with steroids, epidural injections can relieve your pain for months.

An epidural steroid injection is a shot of steroid and anesthetic into the epidural space of the spine. The steroid addresses the swelling and inflammation, while the anesthetic addresses the pain. The epidural space is located near the sac that contains the spinal fluid. Patients experiencing lumbar pain usually have inflammation in the nerve roots that exit from the spine due to existing conditions such as arthritis, bulging disc, or herniated disc.

Epidural steroid injections may also be administered in the cervical area of the spine, into the foramen tunnel of the spine, to relieve neck, shoulder, and arm pain due to a pinched nerve that may be caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Patients with radicular, radiating symptoms respond well to epidural injections.

How Often Are Epidural Steroid Injections Administered?

Epidural steroid injections are administered at outpatient medical centers and are usually done in a series of three injections, spaced from two weeks to a month apart. The procedure involves the use of an X-ray machine to guide the physician and ensure that the medicine is sent to the exact place it needs to go.

How Long Does Relief from Pain Last?

Relief from pain is usually immediate due to the anesthetic contained in the injection, but the effect will fade in a few hours. The steroid acts anywhere between two to seven days after the procedure and peaks in two weeks. Some patients experience relief for weeks, while others experience relief for months. People vary in duration of relief from epidural injections, but one thing is consistent, that patients also experience a gradual improvement in symptoms with each injection. Typically, a pain management physician will not recommend another session if the pain is completely gone.

Risks of Epidural Steroid Injections

There are risks associated with epidural injections, as with any procedure. They range from short-term pain and tenderness in the injection site, facial flushing, and headaches to an allergic reaction, bleeding, and nerve damage. For this reason, patients are always evaluated before being recommended epidural injections. The physician reviews your medical history and performs a physical examination. If you have an active illness or infection or on blood thinners, the physician will not recommend epidural injections. Patients with diabetes may experience an elevation in blood glucose levels days after the procedure. Greater risks come if you entrust the procedure in the hands of an inexperienced physician.

Interventional Pain Management in Washington and New Mexico

Our board-certified and fellowship-trained interventional pain management physicians at Lynx Healthcare create customized treatment plans for patients with injuries and chronic diseases. Our pain management physicians are very skillful and help you resume normal activities with little downtime. We provide compassionate care and treatment in our clinics.

To schedule a consultation, call our clinic at (509) 591-0070 or use our convenient online form to request an appointment with an interventional pain management specialist. We have locations in Tri-Cities, Spokane, Goldendale, Oregon, Walla Walla, and Yakima.

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