Epidural injection for Chronic Pain Relief

This page will provide you with information about using an epidural injection for chronic pain relief. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.

What is an epidural?

An epidural injection involves injecting local anaesthetics and steroids into an area called the epidural space, which is around and below the spinal cord. These drugs temporarily numb your nerves to provide pain relief, while the steroids reduce inflammation and may make the pain relief last longer. An epidural injection can be used for most people, usually giving a safe and effective form of pain relief.

What types of epidural injection are available?

The type of epidural injection will manage pain on different parts of your body depending on where it is given (see figure 1).

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What are the benefits of an epidural injection?

Receiving an epidural injection can give you short-term pain relief, allowing you to move around more easily. If your pain is in your back or legs, an epidural can help progress with a rehabilitative exercise program.

Are there any alternatives to an epidural?

There may be medical reasons why you cannot receive an epidural, such as an allergy to the drugs and an infection at the site where the needle will be inserted. In these instances, your doctor may discuss with you alternative methods of pain management.

What happens during the procedure?

An epidural injection usually takes 15 to 30 minutes. Your doctor will clean the area where they will be giving the injection with antiseptic then numb the area with a local anaesthetic so the epidural can be administered with less discomfort for you. Your doctor will then insert a needle and inject the anaesthetic. Your doctor will then remove the needle.

References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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