An epidural injection delivers powerful anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space located outside of the sac of fluid around the spinal cord. Two types of epidural injections are interlaminar injections and transforaminal injections.
Interlaminar injections are done to help reduce pain in the lower back, leg, neck, or arm caused by sciatica, herniated discs, misaligned vertebrae, or other back problems. An interlaminar injection may be an appropriate treatment for patients who have had pain for more than four weeks.
Patients may experience pain relief 30 minutes after this type of injection. However, pain may return a few hours later, once the anesthetic has worn off. Long-term pain relief begins two to three days after the injection.
The long-term effects of the injection will vary. Some patients may experience pain relief that lasts several months or longer.
A transforaminal injection can help relieve pain in the lower back, legs, and feet caused by sciatica, herniated discs, or other back problems. The injection site is in the area between the spine and spinal cord.
Patients may need to temporarily stop taking blood thinners, including aspirin, ibuprofen, clopidogrel, warfarin, naproxen, and heparin.
The patient will change into a hospital gown and lie face down on an X-ray table with a pillow under their stomach. The physician will cleanse the injection site and numb the area. Patients may be given medicine to help them relax.
Under X-ray guidance, the physician will insert a needle into the patient’s back and inject a mixture of steroid and numbing medicine into the area. The medicine will decrease swelling and pressure on the larger nerves around the spine and help relieve pain. The numbing medicine can also help the physician identify the painful nerve.
Patients may feel some pressure during the injection but shouldn’t experience any pain. It is important for patients to be extremely still during the procedure because the injection needs to be very precise. The entire procedure takes 20 minutes.
Patients will be monitored for 15 to 20 minutes after the injection before being discharged.