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A 34-year-old member asked:

What are the common risks of epidural steroid injections?

4 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Greg Khounganian
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 18 years experience
Rare: In the hands of someone experienced epidural injections are very safe. They are done often under light sedation and utilize x-ray for proper placement. Most common risks are dural puncture leading to a leak of cerebrospinal fluid. This can lead to headaches. Once recognized there are ways to treat this. Other risks are injection site pain, infection and bleeding.
Dr. Muhammad Itani
Anesthesiology 28 years experience
Epidural complicatio: The general risks of epidural injections (steroids or other wise) are: infection (meningitis, epidural abscess), bleeding, back pain localized to injection site (may last up to 3 weeks), nerve injury and accidental dural puncture causing headaches.
Dr. Qamar Khan
Pain Management 17 years experience
Like Any Other Inj: The worse part of an epidural injection is typically the local anesthetic administered to numb the skin. After that the needle typically feels like pressure. However as the needle enters the spinal canal or around the nerve root there can be some pain that is transient. Complications can be bleeding, infection, nerve damage and paralysis, but these are extremely rare.
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management 27 years experience
Minimal: Localized increase in pain. Non-positional headaches resolving within 24 hours. Facial flushing. Anxiety. Sleeplessness. Fever the night of injection. High blood sugar. A transient decrease in immunity because of the suppressive effect of the steroid.

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A 37-year-old member asked:

When do you need epidural steroid injections?

4 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Craig Morton
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 18 years experience
Failed other options: Epidurals are often used to help relieve pain from an inflammed disc or pinched nerve. These may be used to relieve back pain after a conservative trial of medication, physical therapy, and rest.
A 46-year-old member asked:

What are epidural steroid injections used for?

6 doctor answers15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Tarek Shahbandar
Anesthesiology 22 years experience
Inflamed nerves: Epidural steroid injections reduce inflammation of nerve roots often caused by disk herniations in the spine. For the lumbar spine, they are more likely to work when pain radiates down one or both legs. They can give a week to a year of relief. Talk to your doctor about it as there is a lot more to discuss. Good luck.

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Last updated May 24, 2017
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