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Back Pain and Steroid Injections

Read more about Steroid Injections.

Effect of Steroid Injections on Back Pain

Steroid Injections for back pain treatment are typically Cortisone injections. Cortisone is a steroid that is produced naturally in your body. It is released from the adrenal gland when your body is under stress. Cortisone is produced synthetically and is used for treating various disorders. Cortisone suppresses the normal immune response, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.

Giving epidural steroid may help people who suffer from back pain which is caused primarily by inflammation in the spinal nerves.

How to Use Steroid Injections

Epidural steroid injections are given by physicians. You will be asked to lie flat, face down, on an x-ray table. The x-ray will be used to see the location of the tip of the needle, your doctor will guide the needle to the area adjacent to the inflamed spinal nerves. The administration of steroid injection lasts about 15 minutes, some people may require light sedation.

Epidural steroid are given weekly, usually up for 3 consecutive weeks. With this dosing schedule, many patients experience improvement of symptoms within a few weeks. This often helps in controlling inflammation may provide long-lasting pain relief for treating back pain.

Side Effects and Warnings

Side effects

Epidural steroid injections are usually well tolerated. The following may occur with cortisone injection use:

  • Dural Tears: may result from piercing the sac around the spinal nerves with the needle. This usually causes headache
  • Infection: the incidence for this side effect is very low, it is usually avoided by using a sterile technique.
  • Bleeding: also uncommon, this can avoided by not giving the medication to patients with bleeding disorders or those on blood thinning medication.
  • Increased Blood Sugar: taking any steroid medication cause this side effect. If you have diabetes, you will be advised to monitor your blood sugar well after you receive an epidural steroid.



For 5 yrs, I tried everything on the market, and anything my Dr. suggested, with no lasting relief. He finally sent me to a Pain Relief Center, where I have received 3 epidural steroid treatments. Most of my pain has either significantly lessoned or is gone completly. I am Diabetic and my blood sugar does go up into the high 200's, but my diabetic Dr. has given me a medication, not permanant, that I gradually decrease as my blood sugar goes back to normal range. I highly recommend going the epidural way, if you cannot get any lasting relief with oral meds.

8 years ago

Thanks for the comment about your experience! We'd love it if you added this to our "I've tried it" section.

Thanks again for your helpful insight!

7 years ago