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Epidural Steroid Injection (cont.)

Epidural Steroid Injection Risks

Epidural steroid injections are generally very safe, but there are some rare potential complications. One of the most common risks is for the needle to go too deep and cause a hole in the dura, the tissue that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots. When this occurs spinal fluid can leak out through the hole and cause a headache. This headache can be treated with bedrest, or with a blood patch. A blood patch involves drawing some blood from the vein and the injecting it over the hole in the dura. The blood forms a seal over the hole and prevents any further fluid from leaking out.

Rarely, a patient may develop an allergic reaction to one of the medications injected. This can cause itching, a drop in blood pressure, wheezing, or swelling.

If the needle touches the spinal cord or nerve root it can cause a neurologic injury. This most commonly causes a temporary feeling of numbness or tingling in the extremities.

There is also a very small risk for infection with the injection.

When to Seek Medical Care

You should seek medical care after an epidural injection if you develop any of the symptoms described above including headache, dizziness, increased pain, numbness or tingling, trouble breathing, or a skin reaction.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015

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