Are Epidural Injections Safe?

Are Epidural Injections Safe?

Pain is complex, especially severe or chronic pain, and no single treatment works for all. You can benefit from interventional pain management treatments, such as epidural injections, when you have back or neck pain that fails to improve with conservative care.

The thought of a needle so close to your spinal cord is more than a little nerve-wracking, which may make you wonder if epidural injections are safe. Though there are risks with any type of procedure, our pain medicine expert, Dr. Francisco del Valle, at Healthcare Pain Centers LLC, uses the most advanced tools when performing these types of injections to minimize risks.

Here, we inform you about epidural injections, the associated risks, and what we do to make this procedure even safer.

About epidural injections

Epidural injections are a pain management treatment we offer to address acute and chronic pain conditions. During this procedure, we inject a corticosteroid into the epidural space in your spine.

The epidural space is the fat-filled area that surrounds and protects your spinal cord and the spinal nerves. Injecting the steroid into this space reduces inflammation that may irritate or compress the spinal cord or spinal nerve, causing neck or back pain.

We perform epidural injections to treat pain from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease (DDD). 

Risks of epidural injections

Epidural injections are safe and one of the most common treatments for people experiencing radiating pain. Though complications are rare, there are some risks when performing this procedure, such as:

Getting excessive doses of steroids or too many injections may cause weakness in your bones or muscles — that’s why we recommend you get no more than three steroid injections in a year.

Making procedures safer

Though complications from epidural injections are rare, we do everything we can to make this procedure as safe as possible. 

Before providing you with any treatment recommendations, we perform a thorough evaluation to understand your pain condition. We may try conservative medical interventions to ease your discomfort before recommending an epidural injection. 

When we proceed with an epidural injection, we provide guidelines on preparing for your procedure to reduce risks, which includes modifying your medication schedule to decrease the risk of bleeding and fasting before the injection to prevent vomiting. 

During your epidural, we have you lie on the procedure table on your stomach and clean your skin with an antiseptic agent. We then inject a local anesthetic to numb the area. 

Using fluoroscopic imaging, we place the needle into the epidural space in your spine. This live-action video allows a clear view to see where the needle is inserted in your spine, improving the accuracy of the injection.

For your safety, we perform epidural injections at an ambulatory surgical center. After your injection, we take you to the recovery area for monitoring and then later send you home. You must arrange to have someone drive you home after your epidural and plan to take it easy the rest of the day.

Epidural injections are a safe and effective pain management treatment. Are you looking for long-term relief from your pain? We can help.

Call today or request an appointment online at our office location most convenient to you in Old Bridge, Edison, or Freehold, New Jersey.

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