Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used in situations of radicular pain, which is a radiating pain that is transmitted away from the spine by an irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the low back ( lumbar radiculopathy ), such as from lumbar spinal stenosis , cervical spinal stenosis, herniated disc , and foraminal encroachment, causes back pain that goes down the leg. Epidural injection is also used as a minimally invasive procedure to treat nerve compression in the neck (cervical spine), referred to as cervical radiculopathy , which causes pain.
When you arrive at the clinic or radiology department, you will be guided to a change room to remove your clothes and put on a simple gown. Then you will be taken to the CT scanner room, and asked to lie on the CT table/bed. A nurse, radiographer (who operates the CT scanner) or radiologist (specialist doctor) will explain the procedure as you go, and you can ask questions. A small soft tube is placed in the back passage, or rectum, through which air or carbon dioxide is passed into your large bowel. This causes it to expand so that the inside wall of the bowel can be clearly seen on the CT scan images or pictures. You may or may not be given a small injection of a bowel muscle relaxant to help this process. As the air or carbon dioxide passes in, you will feel your abdomen become quite tight and bloated, this is often described as ‘uncomfortable fullness’, and you may feel like burping or passing wind. Occasionally, people may experience mild nausea, which usually passes quickly.