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An ESI or Epidural steroid injections is an effective pain relief treatment option for different types of neck, back and leg pain, for example, sciatica or low back pain.

What’s in the epidural steroid injection?

An Epidural Steroid Injection is directly delivered into the epidural space in the spine. This epidural space covers the dural sac which surrounds the spinal cord, nerve roots, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Typically, an ESI contains a solution of a steroid (cortisone) and a local anesthetic (such as lidocaine), and/or saline.

The steroid is an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces inflammation caused due to a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. The local anesthetic brings fast, temporary pain relief. It also acts as a ‘flushing’ agent to dilute the inflammation promoting agents.

The saline dilutes the local anesthetic so that the anesthetic can flush the chemical or immunologic agents that promote inflammation.

Good Candidates for Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural injections can bring pain relief to people who haven’t benefitted from conservative pain treatments, such as patients suffering from sciatica, or back pain due to bulging or herniated discs.

Epidural injections are also beneficial for spinal stenosis patients, failed back surgery patients and car accident victims who have suffered a spinal injury.

The following people shouldn’t receive ESIs –

  • Patients with a local or systemic infection
  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with bleeding problems
  • Patients with pain due to a spinal tumor