The Basics of Epidural Steroid Injections

Back pain usually does not require surgery, nor should it dictate a life of misery.  Many patients find temporary pain relief via an epidural steroid injection (ESI).  This nonsurgical treatment has been available for years and can be used in conjunction with medications and physical therapy to decrease pain from spinal problems.  The procedure is done at the Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers office and takes about 15 minutes to perform.

What is an ESI?

An epidural steroid injection can be described as a "fancy steroid injection," says Matthew T. DesJardins, M.D.  A corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent are injected into the spinal canal to minimize discomfort and inflammation, he explains.  Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers' high-tech X-ray equipment helps him guide the needle into the injury site for optimal results.

Who is a candidate for ESI?

If medication (such as NSAIDs) and physical therapy are insufficient, ESI may be considered for those with herniated discs, spinal stenosis and certain arthritic conditions.  "The ideal patient is someone with an uncomplicated disc herniation causing a pinched nerve," Dr. DesJardins says.

Matthew T. DesJardins, M.D., is board-certified and fellowship-trained in sports medicine and a expert in spine-related disorders.