Epidural injection side effects are rare, but it is important to understand the potential risks of the procedure. Before you undergo an epidural injection, discuss your medical history and current medications with your doctor and decide if the procedure is right for you.
What is an Epidural Injection?
An epidural injection, also known as a selective nerve root block, is a minimally invasive therapy to treat lower back pain or leg pain. During the procedure, pain medication is delivered directly to the source of pain. The medication also helps to relieve inflammation. Pain relief varies from patient to patient and may last from one week to one year. The goal of an epidural injection is to provide sufficient pain relief, which will allow the patient to take part in a rehabilitative exercise program. If it is effective, epidural steroid injections may be repeated up to three times per year.
Conditions Treated by Epidural Injections
Back and/or leg pain may be caused by several common conditions including:
- Disc herniation, in which a disc pushes into the spinal canal
- Degenerative disc disease, in which the space between the discs collapses and may pinch nerves
- Spinal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses nerves and the spinal cord
- Cysts in the facet joint, which squeeze the spine structures
- Annular tear, which is a tear in the outer layer of a disc
Epidural Injection Side Effects
- Infection – Any time the skin is punctured, there is a risk of infection. Severe infections are rare, occurring in less than 1% of all patients.
- Bleeding – Bleeding is more common in patients who already have a bleeding disorder.
- Nerve Damage – This rare complication may occur as a direct result of the needle puncture, or as a result of infection or bleeding.
Learn More about Epidural Injections
To learn more about Epidural Injections to treat your back or leg pain, schedule a consultation with the radiologists at Association of Alexandria Radiologists. You can request an appointment online, or call our office at 703-824-3260.