First, your back will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a sterile drape will be placed. Next, the doctor will identify the area he or she will inject using an x-ray machine. Once the location is identified, you will feel a pinch and a burn as numbing medicine is injected into that spot using a fine needle. After the numbing medicine takes effect, you should only feel pressure as the doctor places an epidural needle into the correct position using multiple x-rays. Once the needle is in the epidural space, you may feel pressure or even worsening of your typical pain as the doctor injects the medication.
As mentioned above, there may be more than one spinal structure causing your spine pain. Sometimes, there are multiple causes for your spine pain or radiculopathy. In this case, Dr. Lee may recommend alternative treatment options or steriod injections. For example, if your sciatica/leg pain or hand pain improves with epidural steroid injection but you still have low back pain or neck pain, you may benefit from facet joint injections. But, whatever the case, you will need further evaluation by Dr. Lee to decide on further treatment. Remember that there are multiple treatments available now for pain and just because one method yielded partial or no response DOES NOT necessarily mean you will “just have to live with the pain”!