• Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Rehabilitation

Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Caudal Epidural

Description and Presentation

The term “epidural injection” refers to the injection of corticosteroids and local anaesthetic into the epidural space (between the inner and outer coverings of the spinal cord), to treat pain caused by irritation and inflammation of spinal nerves.

Epidural injections can be performed along the vertebral column:

  • A cervical epidural is in to the neck
  • A thoracic epidural is in the upper part of the back
  • A lumbar epidural is in the lower part of the back
  • A caudal epidural is at the base of the spine

An epidural injection is thought to work partly by calming the nerves that transmit the pain, by the use of corticosteroids which have a strong anti-inflammatory property. The pain is also blocked to allow the body to start recovering.

Investigation

These include X-ray, ultrasound scan, MRI scan.

Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Caudal Epidural

Non operative treatment will be discussed with you at your consultation. Depending on your particular situation, these can include measures such as physiotherapy, medication, acupuncture and more rarely, surgery.

Operative treatment: Epidural Injections are performed under X-ray guidance. The appropriate area is sprayed with antiseptic prior to being injected with local anaesthetic to numb the area. At this point a fine needle will be positioned (under X-ray guidance) to the correct area. Once the needle is in position, the injection is given. The details of the procedure, its specific risks and potential complications will be discussed with you prior to your procedure.

Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Caudal Epidural

For a few days after the treatment you may find that the pain is worse than before. This does not mean that the injection will not work, but is due to the procedure itself. We normally suggest taking things gently during this time, and you should continue with your normal medications.

Outcome

The main benefit of epidural injection is to reduce pain, but the effect may vary from person to person. Most patients will receive good pain relief for weeks or months.