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A 36-year-old member asked:

how long does it usually take for an epidural steroid injection to alleviate the pain of a herniated disk?

5 doctor answers22 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sharad Rajpal
Neurosurgery 19 years experience
Depends: Epidural injections can be done with a variety of medications, including steroids and/or local anesthetic. Some people have instant benefit, whereas others develop an improvement over some time (potentially up to 2 weeks before getting relief). Part of this is due to the medication "cocktail" used and the pathology of the area.
Dr. Thomas Dowling
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 40 years experience
Immediate to never: There can be a wide variation on the response to this injection & symptom relief. First, it works best for radicular pain & when the needle is guided under fluoroscopy as there can be up to a 30% miss rate if not done that way. For some, there is immediate relief while for others it may take a few days if at all & may even require a series of 3 injections. Overall, there is about a 50% success.
Dr. Brian Le
Dr. Brian Le answered
Pain Management 17 years experience
Steroid injection: It usually takes a few days for the steroid to be effective. There is a wide variation on the response to this injection & symptom relief. The duration of relief also varies.
Dr. Qamar Khan
Pain Management 17 years experience
A few days: up to 2 weeks in some people. If you haven't had even a little relief after 2 weeks, likely a different treatment may be needed. If you got some relief, a second epidural can be even more helpful.
Dr. Diane Minich
Family Medicine 37 years experience
3-14 days: If no effect after 14 days then discuss other options with your doctor.

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