Dr. Matthew T. DesJardins answers "What is an Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)?"

An Epidural Steroid Injection, or ESI, is a treatment used to alleviate lower back pain and leg pain emanating from the back. It is usually used in conjunction with other treatments, including physical therapy, medication and bracing, to aid a patient’s healing and recovery. The injection is a combination of a steroid (such as cortisone) and a local anesthetic, which is injected into the spinal canal in the lower back using an X-ray machine for guidance.

I have been performing successful epidural injections for many years with Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers in the X-ray department at our Edgewood facility, allowing the patient to have the injection in what often is a less expensive setting. The entire procedure takes 10–15 minutes and does not require sedation; instead, a local anesthetic is used, but we encourage patients to take the day off after the injection and to plan to return to work and normal activity the following day. 

Matthew T. DesJardins, M.D. is a sports medicine and spine specialist with Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers.