Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a frequently-used, non-surgical approach to treat neck, mid-back, and low back pain that radiates into the arms, ribs, abdomen, or legs. Radiating pain is often caused by inflammation and irritated nerve roots from the spine, which causes pain along the nerve root in varying distribution into the arms or legs. These irritated nerve roots may also be associated with numbness, tingling, and/or weakness. ESIs are used to inject local anesthetic and steroid medications into the epidural space, which surrounds the discs and spinal nerves. The steroid medication reduces the inflammation and irritation along the affected nerve roots and discs. Epidural steroid injections are commonly used in conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, spondylosis, radiculitis, and radiculopathy.
Multiple evidence-based studies show epidural injections to result in significant improvement in acute and chronic pain conditions. The procedure allows rapid pain relief of symptoms that grants patients significant restoration in function and mobility, while minimizing their need for medications to control their pain. There are several types of epidural steroid injections, so your physician will determine which type is most appropriate for you based your pain syndrome and needs.