Epidural steroids have been used widely for various purposes, for various people. These medications are often prescribed to relieve the pain of childbirth (a procedure in which the baby’s head enters the mother’s pelvic region), or for other types of surgery, including spinal taps and epidural catheters. The effects of epidural steroids can vary depending on how much is given and for how long.
Because it is used for a variety of purposes, there are numerous side effects, some of which may be serious. People who are allergic to proteins (which is rare) can have an allergic reaction to epidural steroids. The most common side effect of epidural steroids is increased intracranial pressure due to cerebrospinal fluid retention. Other possible side effects include nausea and vomiting, respiratory failure, and worsening pain. But one question burns in some people, how often should Epidural Steroids be administered? In this article, we will discuss all of these things and hope to answer all of your questions regarding epidural steroids.
What are epidural steroid injections?
Epidural corticosteroid injections deliver treatment to a pinched nerve as it exits the spine through the epidural space. The epidural space is located between the spine’s bones and discs, as well as the nerves and spinal cord. This is the area where disc tissue can herniate, causing pressure and irritation near spinal nerves.
Epidural steroids are also known for their ability to help people with chronic back pain since it has the ability to temporarily reduce the back pain. The medication is injected into this space, which sends a wave of local anesthesia that spreads quickly around the nerve. The wave is used to help with pain relief, but also to minimize side effects like weakness and numbness in the arm or leg on one side of the body.
What are epidural corticosteroid injections used for?
Back discomfort caused by a herniated disc (slipped disc), lumbar radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, or sciatica is routinely treated with epidural steroid injections. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that, when administered into the epidural space, can considerably reduce inflammation surrounding an irritated nerve that is causing pain and suffering in the back and legs. Epidural steroids can also be used for the treatment of severe acute or chronic pain.
Who can benefit from an epidural steroid injection?
An epidural injection may aid patients suffering from lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica, lumbar spinal stenosis, postherpetic neuralgia, and facet/synovial cysts. An epidural steroid injection may be used as a nonsurgical treatment or to aid in surgical planning.
Can epidural corticosteroid injections be used in bodybuilding?
Epidural corticosteroid injections are used to treat chronic pain and can be used in bodybuilding. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and they also help with pain relief. The injections are given into the epidural space which is the area around the spinal cord, usually near the lower back. When they are injected into this space, they affect nearby nerves, which reduces inflammation and pain in that area.
How do epidural corticosteroid injections work?
Epidural steroid injections operate by administering a strong anti-inflammatory directly to the site of nerve impingement in the spine. Injected drugs might include steroids, local anesthetics, and saline, and their amount and concentration can vary depending on the patient.
Epidural injections in the lumbosacral spine can be administered via three different routes:
- interlaminar (also known as translaminar)
Based on your diagnosis and previous spine procedures, your doctor will determine which treatment is best for you.
- A caudal injection is the simplest approach to gain access to the epidural area, but it is also the least specific. It can be useful when many sections of the spine are affected or when post-surgical changes make other techniques ineffective.
- An interlaminar (or translaminar) injection sends medication straight into the epidural space at the afflicted level, can be directed to one side or both, and can treat many levels at the same time.
- A transforaminal injection directs medication to the location where the afflicted nerve root exits the spine and is pinched by a disc herniation. It is the most common route for an epidural injection.
How often can you get epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections should be given up to three to six times per year. In the instance of a fresh disc herniation, injections may be given weeks apart with the goal of resolving symptoms quickly and completely. It is typical for chronic illnesses to go three to six months or more between injections.
How long do epidural injections last for back pain?
In individuals who respond well to epidural steroid injections, they can help alleviate pain permanently. The desired duration of action for individuals with persistent pain or recurring disc herniations is three to six months or more.
What are the risks of epidural steroid injections?
Any procedure utilizing a needle carries the risk of bleeding, infection, and nerve injury. When conducted appropriately, the risk of any of these is extremely minimal and is usually outweighed by the procedure’s potential benefit.
The following are some contraindications to administering epidural steroid injections:
- Anticoagulation or bleeding disorders
- Allergies to medications (rare)
- systemic illness or localized infection in the surrounding area
What are the side effects of epidural steroid injections?
Mild injection site pain, temporary aggravation of typical pain, flushing, sleeplessness, or elevated blood sugar are all common adverse effects. Typically, these are self-limiting and dissipate within one to three days. Headache is a less prevalent adverse effect.
Is any preparation required? Can I eat before and after my epidural steroid injection?
Your doctor will give you precise instructions, which can vary depending on the facility and type of epidural (lumbar, thoracic or cervical). Fasting rules are not extremely restrictive because the surgery is usually conducted under local anesthesia.
Is any anesthesia used? Are epidural steroid injections painful?
A local anesthetic is injected into the skin to numb the area where the epidural needle will be inserted. During the process, patients may suffer slight discomfort but should not experience extreme pain.
Will I have to lie flat on my stomach for long during or after the procedure?
The operation can take between 10 and 20 minutes and needs the patient to lie prone if feasible to enable for X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy). After a brief period of monitoring, you will be able to sit, stand, and walk normally.
Who performs epidural steroid injections?
At HSS, epidural steroid injections are administered by a variety of clinicians, including pain management physicians, physiatrists, and interventional radiologists, all of whom have been educated to conduct this treatment safely, frequently with additional speciality fellowship training.