What is an epidural injection?

This is an injection into your back to an area outside the spinal cord called the ‘epidural space’.

Why am I having an epidural injection?

We know that nerves can be irritated by either protrusion of material from a disc (“slipped disc”) or because of tightness due to wear and tear of the gaps in the sides of the spinal column through which the nerves emerge.

What is injected?

Local anaesthetic with or without a steroid is injected into the epidural space. The steroid acts only around the area it is injected and does not have the same effects as taking long-term steroids.

Where is it done?

This procedure is carried out in the Hospital. A letter with instructions and directions will be sent to you.

How is it done?

  • You will be given a gown to wear
  • Your blood pressure will be taken and recorded
  • You will be asked to lie on your side or face down
  • The area to be injected is cleaned with antiseptic
  • The consultant will numb the area with local anaesthetic before putting in the epidural injection
  • You will feel a pushing against your back while the epidural needle is positioned, and as the solution is injected you may feel pressure in your back<
  • It is important that you remain very still during the procedure
  • Sedation is not usually required for this procedure.
  • If you are very anxious you may discuss this with the consultant prior to the procedure

How long will I be in hospital?

The procedure is done as a day-case. You would normally expect to be in hospital a total of four hours. Nurses will check your blood pressure and pulse. Once you are able to sit up you are offered a drink and biscuit.

Can I take my usual tablets?

Take your usual tablets in the morning with a sip of water and bring them with you. Patients with diabetes and those taking warfarin will be given information on an individual basis.

Can I eat and drink?

Please do not have any food 6 hours prior to your appointment time, you may have clear fluids up to 2 hours before your appointment. Diabetics will receive individual instructions.