Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
What Is a Lumbar Spine?
The lower part of the spine, also known as the lumbar spine, comprises five lumbar spinal levels that support our bodies in many ways. Herniated discs, back injuries, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and aging are all potential reasons an orthopaedic patient may experience lower back pain.
Low back pain is often attributable to nerves in the lumbar becoming inflamed, which can descend into pain and numbness of the legs.
Lumbar epidural steroid injections can relieve lower back pain by treating the inflammation at the source of the pain in the nerve root.
What Is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
A lumbar epidural steroid injection contains a mix of anesthetic and steroid, which acts as a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory for the nerve.
A local anesthetic is first used to numb the injection site, after which the physician uses a fluoroscope to carefully position the needle between the L4 and L5 vertebra. A contrast dye is then injected to ensure proper guidance of the injection. Once the needle is properly positioned, the steroid and anesthetic mix will be injected into the targeted area.
Lower back pain and leg pain caused by lumbar spinal injuries or degenerative conditions can be significant, which is why a course of lumbar epidural steroid injections may be recommended.
Lumbar epidural steroid injections can be used for the treatment of:
- Low back pain
- Associated leg pain (including sciatica)
- Lumbar herniated disc(s)
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease
Why Should I Consider a Lumbar Epidural Injection?
A lumbar epidural injection is an effective non-surgical treatment for lower back pain that has been effective for many people. These injections are an alternative to surgery when other medications and physical therapy have failed.
The treatment generally results in very little downtime. Patients can usually return to their normal activities 24 hours after receiving their injection. Your physician may suggest icing the treated area and resting.
Most patients experience some pain relief immediately following the injection, but the steroid injection will take a few days to take full effect.
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections?
As with all steroidal injections, side effects are rare but possible. These risks include:
- Steroid flush
- Allergic reaction to contrast dye
- Water retention
- Menstrual changes for women
- Increased hunger
- Spinal headaches
Your non-surgical orthopaedist will monitor you following treatment to ensure you do not experience any other rare side effects. Non-surgical injections are not for everyone, but injections carry far fewer risks than invasive back surgery.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies and ask your orthopaedic physician about any other serious lumbar epidural steroid injection risks that may apply to you. As always, you should discuss any pre-existing health conditions with your doctor.
Why Should You Consult Non-Surgical Orthopaedics About Your Lower Back Pain?
We are dedicated to helping our orthopaedic patients find relief and manage their back pain more effectively. Lumbar epidural steroid injections can help you live a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
To see if a lumbar epidural steroid injection is right for you, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians. Contact our office at 770-421-1420 to learn more.