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Epidural Steroid Injections – Frequently Asked Questions

An Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) is a common procedure used to treat back pain. This spinal injection is most often used to treat pain related to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.

Note: You may also be interested in our article on facet joint injections.

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) an injection for back pain

What is an Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)?

An epidural steroid injection is a procedure used to treat back pain. During the procedure, a needle is inserted through the vertebrae and a steroid medicine (corticosteroid) is injected into the area surrounding the spinal cord. Oftentimes a numbing agent (anesthetic) is injected along with the steroid.

Are Spinal Injections Painful?

Prior to administering a spinal injections the area is typically numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.

What is the Typical Spinal Injections Recovery Time?

Spinal injections recovery time is minimal. The procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home the same day as the procedure. You should be prepared to rest the remainder of the day but should be able to perform most regular activities the following day.

How Long do Epidural Injections Last?

The corticosteroid usually starts to take effect within 2-7 days. Although results vary by individual, many patients benefit from the steroids’ anti-inflammatory effects. The reduced inflammation can help minimize pain for several months or longer.

If an anesthetic is included in the injection its effects will be felt that same day. However, effects from the anesthetic will wear off after a few hours.

See Also: Non-steroid anti-inflammatories for pain



  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidural_steroid_injection
  2. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/back-pain-injection-treatments#2
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9781416037798100351
  4. https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Treatments/InjectionTreatmentsforSpinalPain/EpiduralSteroidInjections
  5. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/epidural_steroid_injection/article_em.htm#epidural_steroid_injection_risks
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery