What are In-Office Lumbar Injections?
In-office lumbar injections are steroid shots administered to you in your physician’s clinical or office setting to relieve low back pain. These shots involve injecting a local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory steroid into the lumbar (lower back) area of your spine. Your doctor decides on the appropriate injection depending on the source of the pain in your lumbar area.
Indications for Lumbar Injections
Acute or chronic low back pain that can spread to legs is the primary indication for lumbar injections.
How to Prepare for the Procedure?
Your physician may recommend you stop taking certain medicines (if applicable) for a specific period and avoid eating or drinking for precise hours prior to the injection. You are likely to be told to have a driver who can drive you home after the injection.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Regardless of the type, the injections are given under local anesthesia and performed with the help of a fluoroscope (live X-ray) to make sure the medication is delivered into the right spot.
The lumbar injections offered in the office include:
- Epidural steroid injection
- A needle is inserted in the lower back and directed toward the epidural space.
- The steroid is injected slowly to the affected area in the epidural space.
- Caudal block injection
- A needle is inserted and directed toward the epidural space near the tail of the spinal cord.
- The steroid is then injected slowly into the epidural space where it acts on the spinal nerves.
- Facet joint injection
- The facet joints (joints between the two vertebrae) at the lower back are anesthetized.
- The steroid medication is injected directly into the facet joint capsules of the lower spine.
- Lumbar sympathetic block injection
- A needle is inserted into your lower back along the outside of your spine.
- The steroid is injected into your sympathetic nerves located on both sides of your spine.
Your doctor will provide details about each procedure in the office before administering the injection.
Risks Associated with Lumbar Injections
Following are the possible risks associated with lumbar injections:
- Infection, bleeding, nerve damage
- Soreness at the injection site
What Precautions Should be Taken as You Recover from the Procedure?
As you recover from the procedure, you are expected to:
- Rest for a specific period of time
- Avoid driving or rigorous activity for a day or two
Benefits of Lumbar Injections
Lumbar injections are usually safe, non-surgical methods to help in:
- Relieving the pain
- Delaying or avoiding surgery
- Boosting mental health
- Improving the quality of life