Spinal Corticosteroid Injection
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Spinal Corticosteroid Injection?

A spinal corticosteroid injection places corticosteroids into tissue around the spine. Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce painful swelling and irritation, called inflammation. They are injected into the back with a needle.

  • To diagnose whether a specific site in the spine is the cause of persistent pain or disability
  • To reduce pain caused by swelling or inflammation around the spine
  • Improve physical function for people with persistent low back pain and/or sciatica

Spinal injections are typically performed when persistent pain and disability are not relieved by:

  • Rest
  • Ice and heat therapies
  • Medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Back exercises
  • Changes to the physical set-up of the work environment
  • Changes to physical activities, including work
  • Spinal manipulation

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an injection, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Headache
  • Allergic reaction to the medicine
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Fainting

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Current infection
  • Certain pre-existing medical conditions
  • Treatment with blood thinners or certain other medicines
  • General ill health

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the injection site
  • Shortness of...