Injections called epidural steroid injections treat pain caused by pressure on spinal nerves. If you have spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spine can cause pressure and pain. Pain from spinal stenosis often starts in your back and spreads down your leg or starts in your neck and spreads down your arm.

The Procedure

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 is used to guide the needle. The doctor injects a local anesthetic and a steroid medication. Injecting the steroid medication is more effective than taking steroids by mouth, and causes fewer side effects. 

This procedure is done on an outpatient basis, with no overnight hospital stay. Most patients do not need to be sedated for this procedure, but you can talk about that option with your doctor.

If you have an injection, you should not eat before the procedure. You need someone to take you home afterwards.