An epidural steroid injection treats pain caused by pressure on a spinal nerve. Herniated (leaking) or bulging discs can irritate nerves by pressing on them. Pain might start in your back and spread down a leg, or it might start in your neck and spread down an arm.
The doctor places a needle in the epidural space — near the spinal nerves but not in the spinal cord. A special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy is used to guide the needle. The doctor injects a steroid to reduce swelling and relieve pressure. Injecting the steroid is more effective and causes fewer side effects than taking it by mouth.
This is an outpatient procedure. Most patients do not need sedation, but you can talk to your doctor about it. You should not eat before the procedure, and you will need someone to take you home afterward.