A lumbar epidural injection (aka lumbar epidural steroid injection or LESI) is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive treatment. LESIs have been used to treat certain types of low back pain, buttock pain, leg pain and sciatica for decades. It is a procedure very similar to the epidural a woman will receive to deal with the pain associated with childbirth. With a lumbar epidural injection your doctor will place a small amount of anti-inflammatory medication into the epidural space NEAR the spine – not on it or in it. This will relieve swelling, inflammation but most importantly – PAIN.
High dosages of oral corticosteroids taken daily for prolonged periods of time can have serious systemic side effects including bone loss ( osteoporosis), increased risk of infections and diabetes and cataracts, thinning of skin, stretch marks, increased facial/body hair growth, acne, fluid retention, weight gain with redistribution of fat (fat deposits on back and face, thinning of limbs), muscle weakness, decreased resistance to infections, stomach ulcers, mood swings, insomnia, suppression of the body's own production of cortisol, etc.
Many people experience symptom relief immediately after treatment, which may be followed by a very brief recurrence of discomfort until the steroids take effect. Ice can be used to minimize any discomfort at the injection site, which may remain tender for a few days. Immediately after treatment, you’ll be taken to a recovery area to rest for about a half hour. You’ll need to have someone drive you home and you’ll also need to avoid driving, strenuous activity, hot tub use and baths for at least 24 hours after your treatment. You may shower, and the bandage can be removed before bed. If you stopped taking medication like blood thinners prior to your injection, ask the doctor when you may resume taking them. Most people resume their regular activities the next day. You’ll receive more complete discharge instructions before leaving the office.