An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is an injection used for the purpose of relieving back, leg or arm pain caused by a number of conditions. The injection consists of a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and an anesthetic that is used as a numbing agent. It is injected into the epidural area of the spinal column. Depending on the condition, the symptoms and the treatment itself, the resulting pain relief may last anywhere between a few days and several years.
What does an epidural steroid injection treat?
An ESI may be used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with any of the following conditions:
- Sciatica: A form of spinal compression that causes pain and numbness along the sciatic nerve running from the buttocks to the legs.
- Spinal stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal, causing pressure to the spinal cord.
- Spondylolysis: A stress fracture or weakness in the vertebra.
- Degenerative disc disease: The natural aging process affecting the size, structure and flexibility of the vertebrae, leading to a variety of ailments.
- Herniated disc: A vertebrae that bulges or ruptures.
Epidural steroid injections are generally used only to treat pain and discomfort, not as a permanent solution to the source of the pain. However, if they are effective in managing the pain, an epidural steroid injection may be recommended as an alternative to invasive surgery.
For more information, talk to your spinal surgeon at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center.