University Pain and Spine Center
Interventional Pain Management Physicians & Minimally Invasive Surgeons located throughout the state of New Jersey
When you suffer from pain that doesn’t improve with conventional medical care, a steroid injection may provide the relief you need to regain mobility and participate in physical therapy. The team of interventional pain physicians at the University Pain and Spine Center has successfully helped many patients find relief with joint and epidural steroid injections. To learn if you’re a good candidate for a steroid injection, call the office in Englewood Cliffs, Somerset, Monroe Township, Freehold, or Clark, New Jersey, or book an appointment online.
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
This injection procedure is performed to relieve low back and radiating leg pain. Steroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by spinal conditions.
The patient lies face down with a cushion under the stomach area providing comfort and flexes the back. The spine opens and allows for easier access to the epidural space. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin. All the tissue down to the surface of the lamina portion of the lumbar vertebra bone is anesthetized. The physician slides a thicker needle through the anesthetized track. Using a fluoroscope for guidance, the physician slides the needle toward the epidural space between the L-4 and L-5 vertebra. A contrast solution is injected. The physician uses the fluoroscope to confirm the correct location of the needle tip. A steroid-anesthetics mix is injected into the epidural space, bathing the painful nerve root with soothing medication. The needle is removed, and a small bandage is applied to cover the tiny needle surface wound. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat the procedure as many as three times to get the full benefit of the medication. Many patients get significant relief from only one or two injections.
Steroid Injections Q & A
What are steroid injections?
Steroid injections contain a corticosteroid together with a local anesthetic:
Steroids alleviate your pain as they reduce inflammation. Some steroids start to relieve your pain in a day or two, while others need up to a week to take effect.
Your pain relief may last from several days to months or longer, depending on the type of steroid used and your individual response. If you only have mild pain relief from the first steroid injection, you may need a series of injections to produce optimal results.
The local anesthetic provides immediate but short-term pain relief. Due to the rapid action of the anesthetic, a steroid injection can also serve as a diagnostic procedure in your spine, verifying that the targeted site is the source of your pain.
When might I need a steroid injection?
The team at the University Pain and Spine Center may recommend a joint steroid injection or an epidural steroid injection. Your provider may inject steroids into any joint, but a steroid injection is often for knees, hips, and the sacroiliac joint where your spine and hip meet.
Injections that target the epidural space of your cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or caudal spine alleviate pain caused by inflamed nerves. As a result, epidural injections may relieve pain in your back, neck, arms, and legs.
You may need a steroid injection for conditions such as:
- Joint injuries
- Cancer pain
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Radiculopathy (sciatica)
An epidural steroid injection also relieves pain following spine surgery.
What should I expect during a steroid injection?
Your University Pain and Spine Center provider applies a local anesthetic to your skin at the injection site. Then they position you on a specialized table so they can use fluoroscopic imaging — a real-time X-ray — to view the injection site and guide the needle to the precise area in your joint or spine.
After the needle is in place, your provider injects the medication, and you’re finished. After the injection, you’re encouraged to walk around, and the team monitors you for a short time before sending you home.
Your injection site may feel sore for a few days. Otherwise, most patients return to their typical activities the next day.
To learn if a steroid injection may relieve your pain, call the University Pain and Spine Center, or schedule an appointment online.