Benefits vs. Risks of an Epidural Injection

Epidural Injection Benefits

  • Temporary or prolonged pain relief.
  • Temporary or prolonged reduction of inflammation in the region of the spine causing pain.
  • Better ability to function in daily life without the restrictions previously caused by pain.

Epidural Injection Risks

  • Temporary increase in pain, although this is extremely rare.
  • Headache is also extremely rare, but possible.
  • Reaction to the medications, such as hot flashes or rash.
  • Infection at the injection site.
  • Bleeding if a blood vessel is inadvertently damaged.
  • Injury to the nerves at the injection site.
  • Women should always inform their doctor or X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Radiation is not good for the fetus. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
  • If the epidural injection is given in the neck, more serious complications, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, or death, are possible if the needle is placed incorrectly. Your doctor will use imaging guidance, however, to minimize these risks.