Epidural Injections � Side Effects and Risks Involved
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Epidural Injections � Side Effects and Risks Involved

In an epidural injection, the medicine is directly delivered into the area around the nerves and spinal cord or commonly known as epidural space hence the name of the procedure. The injections are made up of corticosteroids which mirror the production of hydrocortisone and hormone cortisone thus providing temporary pain relief to the sufferer. However, as will all medical procedures, there are risk and side effects to consider about. Anyone considering the shots should be well informed of these facts before taking the injections themselves.

Epidural injections are normally given to people suffering from back pain or inflammation. It is also given to birth mothers to ease the process of natural childbirth. In an epidural injection, the medicine is directly delivered into the area around the nerves and spinal cord or commonly known as epidural space hence the name of the procedure. The injections are made up of corticosteroids which mirror the production of hydrocortisone and hormone cortisone thus providing temporary pain relief to the sufferer. However, as will all medical procedures, there are risk and side effects to consider about. Anyone considering the shots should be well informed of these facts before taking the injections themselves.

Among the risks are:-

  1. Although it only occurs in about 0.01% of all injections, there is still the risk of infection around the injection areas as it is an invasive process.
  2.  If the injection is administered wrongly, the injection can cause a dural puncture if the needle unintentionally punctures the dura mater and cerebrospinal fluid. This will cause the patient to suffer migraines and headaches.
  3. Patients who have bleeding disorders may encounter experience bleeding as the procedure might cause bleeding.
  4. Nerve damage from epidural injections are rare and very uncommon but it is still a risk if the procedure accidentally damage the nerves. 
  5.  Some patients may suffer from allergic reactions from the corticosteroids as the body may reject the medication. 

Aside from the risks involved, patients who have undergone epidural injection may experience several side effects of the procedure. Among the more common ones are:-

  1.  Skin tissue irritation which may cause pain in the injection area.
  2. Skin allergies or flushing due to allergic reaction from the corticosteroid.
  3. Patients may experience fevers due to infections around the injection area.
  4. Although it is meant to relieve the pain, the side effects like skin tissue irritation and fever may give the patient some sleepless nights.

Despite all the risk and side effects stated above, epidural injections are the most common form of treatment for back inflammation and spasms. It is generally safe for most patients with the exception of those with bleeding disorders who may not be able to take the injections. However, epidural injections cannot be taken too frequently. It is recommended that a patient undergoes no more than 3 shots every six months.

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Comments (2)

My daughter recently went through a series of epidural injections. I found your article very reassuring.

I had epidural injection when I gave birth but I was never informed about those things.

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