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Back and joint pain can have a dramatic impact on our ability to work or enjoy ourselves. Epidural injections, containing steroids and a local anaesthetic, can provide short term relief from pain so you can be more active – an important factor in long term recovery.

The whole process takes around 20 minutes.

Why you might need it

Sciatica is associated with back pain and involves shooting pains down the legs. Back pain and related symptoms can significantly interfere with our lives. As well as being one of the main reasons people take time off work, back pain can prevent you:

  • taking part in exercise or sport
  • playing with your children and family
  • driving
  • using computers for work or leisure.

An epidural injection can provide relief from pain for a few weeks to several months.

The procedure takes around 20 minutes, including time for a local anaesthetic to take effect.

We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

The injection is usually given under a local anaesthetic. This means you will stay awake during the procedure, but you may be offered a sedative to help you relax.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that having any medical procedure, even one as common and relatively straightforward as an epidural injection, can cause anxiety. Our experienced and dedicated medical staff will be there to reassure you throughout.

You’ll lie on your stomach for the injection. Your consultant will begin by cleaning your lower back with an antiseptic wipe. They’ll then give you a local anaesthetic which numbs the lower back but does not cause drowsiness.

Live X-ray images and a contrast/dye injected through a needle will allow your doctor to confirm the source of the pain in your lumbar region before he or she injects the steroid solution.

Our clinicians might monitor you for a few minutes to make sure it’s fine to leave the hospital. Typically, the procedure takes less than 20 minutes.

Aftercare

You can leave hospital straight after the injection but you should rest for the remainder of the day. If you've had a sedative you will need a friend or relative to take you home afterwards.


Pain relief

For a few hours after the treatment you might want to apply an ice-pack occasionally if tenderness at the injection site is a problem. Your back may initially be a bit more painful but this should wear off after a few days. You should talk to your doctor about taking painkillers on the day of the injection. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. 

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

You should rest your back for 48 hours to allow the treatment to take effect. This means that you should take it easy, but you shouldn’t stay in bed. Try to do some light exercise, such as walking, this will help reduce discomfort.


Looking after you

Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you.

On rare occasions, complications following treatment can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of treatment you are having and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us straight away - we’re ready to help.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.