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Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

Why Is it Used

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is used to relieve the pain from lumbar spinal stenosis

What is It?

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) consists of two main parts:

1. A corticosteroid. These are strong anti-inflammatory medications. They can help relieve swelling and reduce inflammation which in turn can reduce nerve and soft tissue issue pressures. Reducing these pressures reduces pain. They take longer than the anesthetic to provide relief.

2. A local anesthetic pain relief medicine. This medicine is aimed to provide immediate pain relief. It doesn’t reduce the inflammation.

An ESI is injected into the space around the spinal cord (within the spinal canal) and nerve roots (epidural space).

Before the ESI is performed, MRI(magnetic resonance imaging) tests and CT (computed tomography) scans are often done to help identify the exact location where nerve roots are being squeezed. During the injection, an X-ray machine (fluoroscope) is often used to guide placement of the needles so the injection can be properly targeted.


Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are used for leg and hip pain rather than back pain from lumbar spinal stenosis.

These injections can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation for a short period of time. They are not a long-term cure.

Side Effects/Other Considerations

As with all medical procedures, there can be side effects. If side effects cause you pain, consult your doctor. Complications, though rare, can include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and leaking of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Because steroid injections can cause soft tissue damage, they are usually given only three or four times in the same spot in any one year.

The procedure is an out-patient procedure that normally takes about a half an hour. You will be monitored for another 15 to 20 minutes and then told to rest at home.

Women who may be pregnant should be sure to tell their doctor before considering this procedure.


The information contained in this brochure is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition. This brochure does not create a doctor/patient relationship.




This entry was posted in Back pain, Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Steroid Injection. Bookmark the permalink.

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