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Posted Oct 17 2010 9:24am

Epidural injections are the most common injections performed for people with lower back and leg pain.

In general 50% of patients get successful pain relief using this method. Unfortunately you are only allowed three injections per year although some people may only require one of two per year.

I have had many epidural injections over the years which worked like magic at first, but they became less and less effective. But, the relief is so good that if you are experiencing back pain and are not getting much relief through medication or physical therapy, then this is usually your next route.

The injection is quite often given under xray and you first have a small injection of local anaesthetic then the larger needle is inserted into the epidural space around the spinal nerve roots. The steroid can markedly decrease inflammation associated with back pain problems.

As with any spinal injection there are a few rare complications that can occur. One is called the 'wet tap' which leaves you with a bad headache caused by the needle inadvertently bumping into the epidural wall and leaking some cerebrospinal fluid. You can also have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic.

I actually suffered from an anaphylactic type shock with one of my nerve block injections but you have these done in such a safe environment, that any problems are soon sorted out.

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