Frequently Asked Questions: What is an epidural?

An epidural is a potent steroid injection that helps decrease the inflammation of compressed spinal nerves to relieve pain in the back, neck, arms or legs. Cortisone is injected into the spinal canal for pain relief from conditions such as herniated disks, spinal stenosis, or radiculopathy. Some patients may need only one injection, but occasionally more than one injection is needed to provide significant pain relief. Frequently, these are done using a transforaminal approach to selectively isolate a specific nerve root. Along with electrodiagnostics, this can help identify a specific nerve root as the pain generator.

Cortisone is a steroid that is produced naturally in the body. Synthetically-produced cortisone can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation. While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopaedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis.

Learn more about epidurals / injections:

Do injections really work or are they just masking my pain?

More Frequently Asked Questions:

What is degenerative disk disease?
What is sciatica?
What is a bulging/ruptured/herniated disk?
What is radiculopathy/nerve impingement?
What is spinal stenosis?
What is the difference between x-rays, MRI, and CT scan?
What is an EMG or NCS?
What is physical therapy?

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To learn more about Center for Spine Care, visit our website!

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