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What Is Lumbar Epidural Injection?

Your healthcare provider may have suggested you have a lumbar epidural injection. This procedure may provide short-term low back and leg pain relief by reducing swelling and irritation (inflammation). An injection also can help your healthcare provider diagnose the source of your pain by numbing certain areas of your back. Where you are injected depends on the goal of the injection.

Part of a rehabilitation plan

A lumbar epidural injection won’t stop all your low back and leg pain. The main goal of treatment is to help you get back to your usual activities. If successful, the injection may provide temporary reduction in pain. However, it is important to use this time to start the active treatments that have been recommended by your healthcare team. This can include activity such as exercise and stretching. It is important to remember that your own self-care efforts are the most important factor in your recovery from pain.

A tool for diagnosis

An injection can help locate the source of pain. Also called a selective nerve block or a selective epidural, it numbs the roots of specific nerves. The effect lasts only briefly. But if you feel relief, it may mean you’ve found the source of the pain. If you feel no relief, it may mean that the pain’s source is more complex.

Potential risks and complications

  • Spinal headache

  • Increased risk of spine fracture

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Worsening pain

  • Paralysis

  • Nerve damage

  • Allergic reaction

  • Increased blood sugar

  • Immune system suppression

  • Death

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 10/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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