Epidural steroid injections may be performed in a surgery center, hospital, or a physician’s clinic. An anesthesiologist, radiologist, neurologist, physiatrist, and surgeon may be qualified to perform such procedure, though it is more beneficial to find a center and physician that specializes in back pain management.
Before the procedure, the patient will be asked to change into a hospital gown for the physician to have easier access to clean the injection area, as well as to visualize the injection site. The procedure may take 15-30 minutes. The standard protocol is listed below:
Sedation may be prescribed for patients with anxiety, but this is rarely necessary since the procedure is usually pain free. A patient will be advised not to eat or drink for several hours before the procedure when a sedative is used.
Tenderness at the insertion site may occur a few hours after the procedure. This pain can easily be treated by applying an ice pack to the spot for 10-15 minutes. Patients are also advised to rest after an epidural steroid injection and resume normal activities the next day. There are cases when the pain may temporarily increase for several days after the injection. This can be caused by the pressure of the fluid injected or local chemical irritation. Therefore, it is important for patients to discuss if pain medication should be taken after the procedure with their physicians.