The Epidural Experts
What is an epidural?
An epidural is an injection of medication in the epidural space just outside the spinal fluid. The epidural space is the area that surrounds the spinal cord running from the base of the brain to the tailbone including the spinal nerves as they exit the spine.
What is the medication injected?
The medication injected is usually an anti-inflammatory steroid and a local anesthetic (numbing) medicine. This reduces the inflammation around the nerves and discs in the spinal canal.
Why are epidural injections prescribed?
Most epidural injections are given for back pain and leg pain (sciatica) from a disc or bone spur irritating the nerves. An epidural is prescribed to reduce pain, tingling and numbness caused by nerve inflammation. However there are many other medical problems that epidural injections can help treat. Those include spinal stenosis, arthritis of the spine and degenerative disc disease to name just a few.
How is an epidural administered?
An epidural injection is usually administered with the patient comfortably lying face down. The back is cleansed with an antiseptic and x-ray images are made in real time to identify the structures of the spine to aid in guiding the injection. A numbing medicine is placed just under the skin to numb the area. Sometimes more than one site on the spine in treated so there may be several numbed areas on the skin. A very small wire-like needle is used to deliver the medication at the appropriate site.
Is it painful?
No. The patient may feel a pressure sensation down the legs or in the back. The injection is rarely uncomfortable and most patients report that the anticipation of the injection is worse than the actual treatment.
Does it take a long time?
It takes just minutes in our office at about half the cost of a hospital.