The epidural space is the area between the bones (vertebra) and the fluid filled sac that contains the nerves in the spine. Epidural injections are comprised of local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory drug (steroids) into the epidural space. The aim of the injection is twofold. Firstly, if your pain is relieved by the numbing medicine (local anaesthetic) then it confirms that this is the correct level causing your pain. Secondly, the anti-inflammatory medicine (steroid) will reduce the surrounding inflammation and hence your symptoms.
No preparation is required although it is important to contact us and let us know if you are taking any blood thinning medications or have an iodine allergy prior to the appointment.
The procedure usually takes about twenty (20) minutes.
The injection will be performed by a radiologist who will be assisted by our radiographers.
You will be asked to change into a gown and lie face down on the CT table. A series of planning scans will be taken so that the exact position for the injection can be marked on your back.
The skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the radiologist will inject the area with a local anaesthetic to numb the region and then a short series of scans are performed to confirm the injection will go into the correct point for maximum relief.
Once the correct position has been acquired, the anti-inflammatory and the local anaesthetic agent will be injected.
The injection may give you immediate relief of pain due to the local anaesthetic, this will last only a few hours. Sometimes you may notice some weakness of your leg as the local anaesthetic blocks the pain and action of the nerve. You may have a sore back for a day or two, but after that the steroid should take effect and you may notice decreased pain over the next two (2) weeks.
For your comfort it is recommended you:
It is important to keep a record of your progress so we have provided a ‘Post Procedure Pain Diary’ for you to keep over the next two (2) weeks after the procedure. You should take this with you to report back to your doctor when you next see them so they can assess how successful this procedure was for you.
Any beneficial effect may eventually wear off. This is very variable, but the beneficial effect usually lasts several months. The area can be injected again if required.
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