Lumbar epidural steroid injections are pain management tools used to reduce inflammation around nerves responsible for lower back and radicular pain in the lower extremities. During a lumbar epidural steroid injection, steroids are usually injected into the neural foramen where nerves exit the spine allowing for highly targeted administration of an anti-inflammatory medication to inflamed nerve roots. Although getting lumbar epidural steroid injections may not cure the underlying cause of the pain, it can provide relief long enough for patients to begin a physical therapy regimen that typically improves aids with long-term relief.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for a lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection?
If you are suffering from chronic low back pain that radiates to your groin or legs, a lumbar epidural steroid injection may provide relief from your symptoms. During your visit, your physician will want to discuss your medical history and symptoms, review any available imaging, and perform a detailed physical exam to help better understand your condition and determine whether a steroid injection could provide relief for your persisting low back pain. Keep in mind that lumbar epidural steroid injections are not always a cure for the condition causing your pain, but rather a means of managing your pain and discomfort to improve your overall quality of life.
What should I expect during a lumbar transforaminal ESI?
Lumbar epidural steroid injections are typically performed with the use of a local anesthetic, much like what you’d receive from a dentist while getting a cavity filled. However, some patients prefer IV sedation as well. You’ll be lying down for the duration of the procedure, which usually takes less than 30 minutes. Once you are comfortable, the physician will use a local anesthetic to numb the skin and the needle will be carefully guided to the vertebral level that is believed to be the source of the pain based on your symptoms and review of MRI imaging. A contrast dye will be administered first to determine the flow of the medication upon injection. Then, the steroid medication is delivered to the nerve site, helping to reduce inflammation and pain.
What types of results can I expect from an epidural steroid injection?
Lumbar epidural steroid injections are outpatient procedures, but you’ll need someone to drive you home if you choose to be sedated. Many patients report significant relief within 2-3 days after receiving a lumbar epidural steroid injection. However, some may benefit from additional epidural steroid injections in the following weeks.