Epidural steroids have been widely utilized for a variety of objectives and by a variety of people. These drugs are frequently recommended to reduce the pain of childbirth (when the baby’s head reaches the mother’s pelvic region) or for various forms of surgery, such as spinal taps and epidural catheters. The effects of epidural steroids vary depending on how much and how long they are administered.
Because it is used for so many different things, it has a lot of adverse effects, some of which can be dangerous. Epidural steroids can cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to proteins (which is uncommon). Increased intracranial pressure owing to CSF fluid retention is the most prevalent side effect of epidural steroids. Other adverse effects that may occur include nausea and vomiting, respiratory failure, and pain worsening. However, one issue lingers in the minds of some: how frequently should Epidural Steroids be administered? All of these topics will be covered in this post, and we aim to answer all of your questions about epidural steroids.
What are epidural steroid injections?
Epidural corticosteroid injections relieve a pinched nerve as it leaves the spine via the epidural space. The epidural space is found between the bones and discs of the spine, as well as the nerves and spinal cord. This is where disc tissue can herniate, putting pressure on and irritating spinal nerves.
Epidural steroids are also known for their ability to aid persons with persistent back pain by momentarily relieving the discomfort. The medicine is injected into this gap, causing a wave of local anesthetic to quickly spread across the nerve. The wave is used to relieve pain while also minimizing negative effects such as weakness and numbness in one arm or leg on one side of the body.
What are epidural corticosteroid injections used for?
Epidural steroid injections are commonly used to alleviate back pain caused by a herniated disc (slipped disc), lumbar radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, or sciatica. Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory medications that, when injected into the epidural space, can significantly reduce inflammation surrounding an inflamed nerve causing pain and suffering in the back and legs. Epidural steroids are also used to treat severe acute or chronic pain.
Who can benefit from an epidural steroid injection?
Patients with lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, lumbar radiculopathy, sciatica, lumbar spinal stenosis, postherpetic neuralgia, and facet/synovial cysts may benefit from epidural injections. An epidural steroid injection can be used to alleviate pain without surgery or to aid in surgical planning.
Can epidural corticosteroid injections be used in bodybuilding?
Epidural corticosteroid injections can be used in bodybuilding to alleviate persistent discomfort. Corticosteroids aid to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. The injections are administered into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord and is usually located towards the lower back. They influence neighboring nerves when injected into this region, reducing inflammation and pain in that area.
How do epidural corticosteroid injections work?
Epidural steroid injections work by directly delivering a potent anti-inflammatory to the site of nerve impingement in the spine. Steroids, local anesthetics, and saline may be injected, and the dosage and concentration may vary depending on the patient.
Epidural injections in the lumbosacral spine can be delivered in three ways:
- interlaminar (also known as translaminar)
Your doctor will decide which treatment is best for you based on your diagnosis and previous spine surgeries.
- The simplest method of gaining access to the epidural area is a caudal injection, but it is also the least specific. When multiple portions of the spine are injured or when post-surgical changes render other procedures ineffective, it can be useful.
- An interlaminar (or translaminar) injection delivers medication directly into the epidural space at the affected level, can be delivered to one or both sides, and can treat many levels at once.
- A transforaminal injection delivers medication to the area of the spine where the affected nerve root exits and is constricted by a disc herniation. It is the most usual method of administering an epidural injection.
How often can you get epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections should be administered three to six times a year at most. In the case of a new disc herniation, injections may be administered weeks apart with the goal of promptly and fully relieving symptoms. Chronic disorders typically require three to six months or more between injections.
How long do epidural injections last for back pain?
Epidural steroid injections can help relieve pain permanently in people who respond favorably to them. Individuals with chronic pain or repeated disc herniations should expect to be treated for three to six months or longer.
What are the risks of epidural steroid injections?
Any procedure that involves the use of a needle carries the risk of bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. When performed correctly, the danger of any of these is extremely low and is usually outweighed by the potential benefit of the surgery.
Some contraindications to delivering epidural steroid injections include:
- Disorders of anticoagulation or bleeding
- Medication allergies (rare)
- localized infection or systemic sickness in the surrounding area
Epidural steroid injection side effects
Mild injection site pain, brief worsening of normal pain, flushing, insomnia, or raised blood sugar levels are all common side effects. These are typically self-limiting and disappear within one to three days. Headache is a less common side effect.
Is any preparation required? Can I eat before and after my epidural steroid injection?
Your doctor will give you specific instructions, which may differ based on the hospital and type of epidural you receive (lumbar, thoracic or cervical). Because the procedure is frequently performed under local anesthesia, the fasting guidelines are not very stringent.
Is any anesthesia used? Are epidural steroid injections painful?
To numb the area where the epidural needle will be put, a local anesthetic is administered into the skin. Patients may experience some discomfort but should not encounter severe pain throughout the procedure.
Will I have to lie flat on my stomach for long during or after the procedure?
The procedure can take 10 to 20 minutes and requires the patient to lie prone if possible to allow for X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy). You will be able to sit, stand, and walk normally after a brief period of monitoring.
Who performs epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections are given at HSS by a range of clinicians, including pain management specialists, physiatrists, and interventional radiologists, all of whom have been trained to do so safely, often with additional speciality fellowship training.
How Soon Can I Exercise After Epidural Steroid Injection?
You can’t just expect to feel all the effects of epidural steroid injections right after administration. Before you can exercise after an epidural steroid injection, you must wait for at least 4-6 hours after the needle was inserted. After such time has passed, you can slowly get into your workout regime and by then, you will be able to experience or feel some of the effects of the steroid.