Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections

By: James Perry, DO

Dr. James Perry of JOI explains Epidural Spinal Steroid Injections.Image of Spinal components for Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections

Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections

Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) are a treatment option to help with issues of the spine. Injections are more invasive than the conservative options that we offer such as Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, or oral medications. Injections are less invasive than surgery.  

Spinal Epidural Injections may be used to treat pain or radiating symptoms from the spine.  Some common reasons and causes that are treated with ESI are:

  • Disc issues
  • Stenosis
  • Spondylosis

What are the Types of Spinal injections?

We can offer patients 3 types of injections for the spine. They include:

  1. Interlaminar
  2. Transforaminal
  3. Facet

Spinal epidural steroid Injections primarily consist of a steroid agent, but they also contain some numbing medication similar to Novocaine mixed with the steroid. They are performed by either pain management Anesthesiologists or Physiatrists under X-ray guidance. The X-ray guidance helps to confirm that the targeted area of the spine was reached. 

If you would like to learn more about the Anatomy of the Spine, this VIDEO may help.

What Can I Expect with Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections?

Spinal Epidural Steroid Injections are performed using X-Ray guidance (flouroscopy).Image of a Spinal Epidural Steroid Injection Procedure

The skin is numbed prior to the spinal epidural steroid injection.Then, with x-ray tracking, the needle is guided down to the targeted region of the spine and then the steroid medication is delivered. Patients should plan to have someone drive them to and from the visit.  They should plan to return home directly after the Injection.

What is the Purpose of a Spinal Injection?

These injections serve 2 purposes. First, they can be therapeutic and provide significant pain relief for the patient. Secondly, they can serve a diagnostic role. If the injection helps (even if only for a short duration such as days/weeks) it helps give us confirmation that we are targeting the area of the spine that is causing the pain. 

What are the Risks with a Spinal Epidural Steroid Injection?

With all medical procedures, there are risks involved.  These risks are discussed with patients in detail before the procedure.  Issues or adverse reactions to a Spinal injection are rare.  Some of the potential risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Fluid Retention
  • Allergic reaction to the medication

It is important to discuss all of your medical history with the doctor before to the procedure.  

How Many Injections Can I Have?

The quick answer is that you can receive 3 injections in the same spot over a 12 month period. Results may vary. It is common for our patients get 1-2 Epidural Spinal Injections (ESI) per year.  Most report that this keeps their symptoms well controlled. 

Spinal Injections help to keep more invasive treatments such as spinal surgery on the back burner.  But, injections can also help us to determine the appropriate surgical procedure if needed.

If you have pain in the back or neck that will not go away, It is important to seek treatment from the experts. My staff and I at the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute are ready to help you get on the road to recovery from your spine issues.  From conservative therapy, to injections, to surgery, we are here to help.  

Dr. James Perry is an Orthopedic Spine surgeon at JOI.Image of Dr. Perry

JOI offers ASAP fracture and Injury Services to allow you to be seen quickly.  We also offer Telemedicine visits so that you can be seen from home if needed. 

Dr. James Perry is a Board Certified Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon at the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Perry, call JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.

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