What is an epidural steroid injection/selective nerve root block?

The epidural steroid injection, also known as a selective nerve root block, is the placement of a steroid such as cortisone, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, into the epidural space which surrounds the spinal cord and the nerves that branch off from it. The cortisone will calm the inflammation and decrease the pain. Injecting cortisone into the epidural space has been used for over 40 years as treatment for back pain allowing good benefits with minimal risk factors.

This is a common procedure. Because of the low risk and low incidence of any significant problems or side effects, this is felt to be a reasonable procedure to follow when traditional conservative therapy for disc pain has failed to provide improvement. A large percentage of patients upon whom this procedure is performed will get complete resolution of symptoms; a small percentage may experience no real improvement at all.

What is the purpose of it?
The main goal of the epidural injection is to shrink the swelling in bulging or herniated discs, and to decrease any inflammation that surrounds the disc and may be pressing on a spinal nerve.

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