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Interlaminar Epidural Steroid Injection

A interlaminar epidural steroid injection is a simple procedure for treating neck, back, shoulder, and arm pain, commonly due to disc bulges and arthritis. Your doctor can explain if this procedure is right for you.

What is the epidural space?

The dura is a protective covering of the spinal cord and its nerves. The space surrounding the dura is called the epidural space. It contains fat and small vessels, and medications (cortisone) can easily spread when injected into this space.

What causes pain in the epidural space?

The area of the spine has bones called vertebrae. Soft discs found between these vertebrae cushion them, and control motion. If a disc tears or ruptures, chemicals inside may leak out. This can inflame the nerve roots or the dura, and cause pain. The discs may also push outward towards the nerves or spinal cord, compressing roots or the spinal cord, thereby causing pain, numbness or weakness. This is called a disc bulge or herniation. Bone spurs, called osteophytes, can also press against nerve roots and cause pain.

How do I know if I have disc and nerve root pain?

If you have pain in your neck or back when you move, you may have disc pain and dural inflammation. If pain travels into your arm when you move, you may have a pinched nerve or inflammation. Common tests such as MRIs can show disc bulges and nerve root compression, but may not show a torn and leaking disc. A epidural injection can help to determine if disc problems, or dural, or nerve root inflammation are causing your pain.

What is an interlaminar cervical epidural steroid injection?

In a epidural steroid injection, an anesthetic and a steroid are injected into the epidural space to reduce inflammation. The simplest way is from the back of the spine. This is called an interlaminar injection.

How long can I expect pain relief?

How long you can expect pain relief depends on the amount of inflammation. Sometimes an injection brings several months of pain relief, and then further treatment is needed. Other times, a single injection brings long-term pain relief. If your pain is caused by injury to more than one area, only some of your symptoms will be helped by a single injection. Injections are used as part of a comprehensive pain management program including physical therapy, medications and other modalities to reduce pain.