Lumbar Epidural Injection

What is a lumbar epidural injection?

A lumbar epidural injection is an interventional procedure that is designed to reduce pain and inflammation in the lumbar spine. This injection may reduce pain from a variety of spinal pain problems including intervertebral disc disease, nerve impingement, facet joint arthritis and spinal stenosis.
With fluoroscopic guidance, needles are advanced into the epidural space of the lumbar spine. Needle tip placement is confirmed by injection of contrast (dye) to verify proper needle location. After correct needle position is confirmed by x-ray (fluoroscopy) the proper medications are injections. The most common medications usually include Lidocaine and Kenalog.

How does a lumbar epidural injection relieve my pain?

Spine pain and lumbar radiculopathy are caused by inflammation of structures in the lumbar spine. Most of our epidural injections use Lidocaine and Kenalog. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that can rapidly reduce pain symptoms. Kenalog is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory medications currently available. These medications have a long record of safety and effectiveness.

What can I expect during the procedure?

After checking in at the Surgery Center, you will be interviewed by the admission nurse who will take a full history, then start an IV. You will also be seen by the medical staff of the Arizona Pain Clinic prior to the procedure, at which time you will have the opportunity to have any additional questions answered. After being placed on the treatment table, intravenous sedation will be administered to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. The injection usually takes only several minutes. Following the procedure, you will be allowed to rest for approximately 30 minutes in the recovery area prior to discharge. You must have a responsible adult take you home.

When will I begin to feel pain relief and how long will it last?

Most epidural injections will provide pain reduction within 48-72 hours. The length of pain reduction depends on multiple factors including the age of the patient, the underlying anatomical problem, occupational activities and adherence to a formal physical therapy program.

What is the anticipated recovery from the procedure?

Recovery from the procedure is short. You may have minor discomfort at the injection site which usually resolves within 24 hours. If you continue to have symptoms, please refer to Surgery Center discharge instructions. You also may call Arizona Pain Specialists if there are any concerns.