A caudal steroid injection is a tool physicians use to help treat lower back pain. It can help patients with a wide range of conditions including degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, sciatica, and other conditions stemming from the caudal canal in the lower spine. It works by injecting soothing pain medication directly into the epidural spine (low back area). This bathes the damaged or pinched nerves in medication, helping them feel less irritated.
What to Expect
Patients should not expect a caudal steroid injection to take very long. In fact, it should only take about 15-40 minutes total, and patients can go home the same day. While lying on his or her stomach, patients will be given an anesthetic so they feel a localized numbing sensation on the lower back and will have less pain during the procedure. The physician will use an X-ray machine called a fluoroscope to get a clear view of the needle and the anatomy of the spine. A special dye that shows up on an X-ray is injected into the spine to light up where the caudal steroid injection needs to go. Then the physician mixes anesthetic with the steroid medication and injects it into the area.
After Your Procedure
Patients are advised not to drive or be physically active immediately after the injection. The effects of a caudal steroid injection are very rapid; patients often can feel pain relief from about the time they get home after leaving our office, although some patients may start to feel the effects of the injection the next day. Your physician may want to schedule a follow-up appointment to determine if a repeat injection would be needed in the following months. The procedure has proven to be very safe. Patients should not expect any complications after their procedure, although rare side effects include water retention, soreness, feeling of warmth, and possibly other side effects. The side effects are minor and should subside in a few days, but if they persist, give your physician a call.