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Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection: An Effective Approach to Managing Chronic Back Pain

What is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection (LESI) is a minimally invasive procedure primarily used to alleviate pain originating from the lower spine. The ‘lumbar’ refers to the lower region of your spine, ‘epidural’ pertains to the space around your spinal cord where the injection is targeted, and ‘steroid’ is the medication that’s injected, which reduces inflammation and thereby eases pain.

What Conditions Can LESI Treat?

LESI is typically used to treat chronic lower back and leg pain often associated with conditions such as spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and sciatica. By delivering a strong anti-inflammatory agent directly into the source of pain, LESI can provide significant relief, especially when other conservative treatments like physical therapy or medication haven’t proven effective.

How is LESI Administered?

LESI is an outpatient procedure that usually takes about 5-10 minutes. After cleaning and numbing your lower back with a local anesthetic, I use fluoroscopy, a type of real-time x-ray, to guide a small needle into the epidural space in your spine. Once the needle is accurately positioned, a mix of anesthetic and steroid medication is injected.

You might feel a bit of pressure during the injection, but it’s generally well-tolerated. Following the procedure, you’ll be monitored for a short period before being discharged to return home. It’s recommended to have someone drive you home and to rest for the remainder of the day.

What Are the Risks?

Like any medical procedure, LESI does come with some risks, albeit they are relatively low. Possible complications include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, allergic reactions, and, in very rare cases, a dural puncture that may cause a headache.

The procedure’s side effects might include temporary numbness in your legs, transient increase in pain, and, on rare occasions, steroid-related side effects like fluid retention, insomnia, and mood changes. It’s essential to remember that these effects are usually temporary and will diminish with time.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you’ve been struggling with chronic back pain and haven’t found relief from other treatments, Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection might be an effective solution for you. Call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edward Rubin, so you can discuss your condition and be evaluated to see if an LESI is the right treatment for you. You don’t have to live with chronic back pain—help is just a call or click away.