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How are epidural steroid injections given for back problems?

Epidural steroid injections are given into the epidural space, the space between the covering of the spinal cord and the inside walls of the spinal canal. A needle is inserted between two vertebrae or near a nerve. The steroid medication can then move up and down the spinal canal to coat the nerve roots near the area of the injection. Epidural injections can treat pain in a large region of the body.
Juan P. Villablanca, MD
Neuroradiology
An epidural steroid injection for back problems is given with the help of a fluoroscope, which uses safe, low-level radiation to allow a doctor to look right through the soft tissues at the bony anatomy. A doctor gently advances a needle, confirms that the needle is in the proper space, and then delivers a small amount of steroid and anesthetics to the area to decrease the inflammation around the nerves and reduce pain. The procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes to perform, sometimes less. It can generally provide relief for a month and a half, sometimes for up to six months, and in some cases even longer. Epidural steroid injections are used to treat disk herniation, degenerative disk disease and spinal stenosis (when the pain is arising from within the spinal canal).

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