Understanding The Complex Nature of Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a medical procedure that relieves pain and inflammation in the spine. The technique involves injecting a steroid medication, often along with a local anesthetic, into the epidural space surrounding your spinal cord and nerve roots. ESIs can treat several conditions, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. The team performs the procedure under imaging guidance while a Chandler AZ anesthesiologist monitors you to prevent complications.

Determining your eligibility for epidural steroid injections

Medical experts usually recommend epidural injections for patients with chronic pain conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or sciatica. They may determine your eligibility by conducting a thorough assessment. Your specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination to evaluate the extent of your condition and determine the suitability of the injection. Additionally, they may request imaging tests such as MRI or X-ray to identify any structural abnormalities causing the pain. If you are allergic o any medications used during the injection or have a blood clotting disorder, you may not be eligible for the procedure. Overall, determining your eligibility for epidural injections involves carefully evaluating your medical history, current health status, and the underlying cause of your pain.

The role of an anesthesiologist when administering epidural steroid injections

An anesthesiologist is responsible for ensuring your safety, comfort, and pain relief during the procedure. They will review your medical history, medications, and allergies before an epidural steroid injection. Your specialist will also explain the treatment, including the risks and benefits. Your anesthesiologist will administer anesthesia during the treatment to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free. They will then carefully insert a thin needle into the epidural space and deliver the medication. The anesthesiologist will assess your vital signs throughout the procedure and adjust the anesthesia as needed. After the injection, they will ensure you are comfortable and provide any necessary post-procedure instructions.

What to expect during an epidural injection\

During the procedure, your provider will require you to lie on your stomach or side. They will then clean and sterilize the injection site. The anesthesiologist will then use a thin needle to administer a local anesthetic to numb the area. Once the area is numb, your doctor injects the steroid medication into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord, to alleviate inflammation and pain in the affected area. The procedure usually takes at most 30 minutes. You may feel pressure or mild discomfort during the injection. After the injection, your healthcare professional will monitor you briefly before allowing you to go home. It is common to experience mild side effects, such as soreness at the injection site, headache, or mild nausea, which usually resolve within a few days.  It may take a few days to a week to feel the full effect of the injection, and the pain relief can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

If you struggle with chronic pain, call the Apex Pain Specialists office or book an appointment for epidural steroid injections.