What is it?
An epidural nerve block is the injection of corticosteroid medication into the epidural space of the spinal column. This space is located between the dura (a membrane surrounding the nerve roots) and the interior surface of the spinal canal formed by the vertebrae.
After a local skin anesthetic is applied to numb the injection site, a spinal needle is inserted into the epidural space. To ensure accuracy and safety, our physicians perform the procedure under fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, using a contrast agent to confirm needle placement. Local anesthetic and corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication are delivered into the epidural space to shrink the swelling around nerve roots, relieving pressure and pain.
How Long does the Procedure Take?
Epidural nerve blocks are performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically requires less than 20 minutes, including preparation time. Up to three injections may be given within a six-month time frame. Usually, the injections are performed two to three weeks apart. A set of three injections is the norm; however, you may gain considerable relief after the first or second injection. In that instance, further injections may not be necessary.
What are the Expected Results?
Epidural nerve blocks are very effective in providing pain relief. The benefit from these injections will typically occur two days following the procedure. In conjunction with physical therapy, many individuals enjoy a pain free lifestyle.