Sunday, March 4, 2012

Epidural Steroid Injections of the Neck and Back: Minnesota Workers’ Compensation

Epidural injections deliver steroids into the epidural space around the spinal nerve roots to relive pain caused by irritated spinal nerves. The steroid reduces inflammation of the nerves, which are often the source of pain. About 50% of patients receive significant pain relief following an injection. The purpose of epidural steroid injections is to help patients get enough pain relief in order to be able to undergo rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, epidural steroid injections don’t actually cure the underlying problem.

Spinal nerves can become inflamed due to irritation from a damaged disc or contact with bone spurs. Symptoms of nerve inflammation can cause pain and/or numbness and tingling in parts of the body associated with the nerve.

Nerve irritation in the cervical spine can cause:
  • Neck pain, tingling, or numbness. 
  • Shoulder pain, tingling, or numbness. 
  • Arm pain, tingling, or numbness. 
Nerve irritation in the thoracic spine can cause:
  • Upper back pain. 
  • Pain along the ribs to the chest wall. 
  • Pain in the abdomen. 
Nerve irritation in the lumbar spine can cause:
  • Low back pain. 
  • Hip pain. 
  • Buttock pain. 
  • Leg pain, tingling, or numbness. 
Before the injection is administered, the patient is given a local anesthetic to the area that is to be injected. The injection is performed using a guided x-ray procedure called fluoroscopy. Contrast dye and a combination of numbing medicine and an anti-inflammatory medicine are injected into the epidural space. The procedure generally takes about 30 minutes, followed by approximately 45 minutes of recovery time. Some patients may experience partial numbness from the anesthetic in the arms or legs, which usually subsides after a few hours. Pain levels after an epidural steroid injection should be documented in a “pain diary” so the treating physician can evaluate the effectiveness of the injection. Improvements in pain will generally occur within 10 days after the injection, and may begin as soon as one day after the injection.

For more information about spinal epidural injections check out

Workers with neck and back injuries frequently undergo one or more epidural steroid injections, with varying degrees of success. If you’ve sustained an on-the-job injury, contact Meuser & Associate for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights. Call us at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email


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