Lumbar Epidurals

What is a Lumbar Epidural?

Lumbar epidurals are injections to treat and relieve low back pain. A lumbar epidural involves injecting a local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory steroid into the epidural space of the lower spine (lower back) to reduce inflammation causing the pain.

The epidural space is the area between the dura mater (a membrane covering the spinal cord) and the vertebral wall of the spine. This contains nerves, blood vessels and soft tissues.

Indications for the Procedure

The typical indication for the procedure is acute or chronic low back pain that radiates down your leg, which can be caused by various medical conditions or infection.

How do you Prepare for a Lumbar Epidural?

You may be told to do the following to prepare for the procedure:

  • Stop taking antibiotics (if applicable) 4 weeks before the epidurals.
  • Avoid using blood thinners (if applicable) two weeks before the procedure.
  • Stop eating or drinking for specific hours prior to the injection.
  • Arrange a driver to take you home after the discharge.

How is the Procedure Performed?

The procedure usually takes between 15 to 30 minutes and is performed in a surgery center, hospital, or a physician’s clinic.

During the procedure:

  • You will lie on your stomach on an X-ray table with your back slightly curved by a pillow under your abdomen.
  • Alternatively, you may sit upright or lie on your side in a slightly curled position.
  • The skin in the low back area is cleaned and then numbed with a local anesthetic.
  • A fluoroscope (live X-ray) is positioned to guide a needle to the injection site.
  • The needle is inserted into the skin and directed towards the epidural space.
  • Proper position of the needle is confirmed by injecting contrast (dye) into the location.
  • The steroid is then injected slowly to the affected area in the epidural space.
  • You are likely to be monitored for 15 to 20 minutes before being discharged.

The number of epidurals required vary and can be anywhere between one to three injections.

Risks and Side Effects Associated with Lumbar Epidurals

Risks of lumbar epidurals include:

  • Increase in the pain for several days
  • Numbness of the bowels and bladder
  • Puncture of dura mater leading to headache
  • Infection, bleeding, nerve damage

Possible side effects are:

  • Facial flushing (anxiety)
  • Sleeplessness
  • High blood sugar
  • Arthritis of the hips
  • Cataract (decrease in vision)
  • Stomach ulcers

What Precautions should be Taken as You Recover from the Procedure?

As you recover from the procedure, you may need to:

  • Apply an ice pack as instructed by your doctor
  • Adequately rest for a specific period of time
  • Avoid driving or rigorous activity for at least a day
  • Avoid taking a bath or using a hot tub for 24 hours

Benefits of Lumbar Epidurals?

Lumbar epidurals are safe, effective and non-surgical and help to:

  • Control inflammation
  • Relieve pain
  • Minimize the use of pain medicines
  • Delay or avoid surgery
  • Boost mental health
  • Improve the quality of life
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Rating & Review

Melinda Bess
Melinda Bess
Dr. Iqbal is the best pain management doctor I have ever had and will have. She does her homework first which I think makes the difference in diagnosis. She is the total package, a very smart and beautiful doctor, wife, and mother. Hand on Bible she changed my life, and I will forever be in debt to her. I can't say thank you enough. I appreciate her staff; they are all awesome as well. I laughed and cried in her office, but her smile and staff always made me feel welcome like part of their family. I would and will drive across country to see her. The referral to a new knee surgeon to fix a bad knee replacement was the best. I got a new knee, and it has been a huge blessing as well. Thank you, Dr. Iqbal and staff you all are 5 stars, in my life.
Nikin Mehta
Nikin Mehta
Brian Knopf
Brian Knopf
Dr. Iqbal and her staff are fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I highly recommend her and her team
Brenda Jones
Brenda Jones
I visited this facility in January for severe back pain I was experiencing. The whole ordeal from beginning to end was amazing. I wish I had known about this place years ago before suffering from so much pain. Dr. Mehreen Iqbal, her assistant Michealle Dooley and their staff is the best. I had a procedure done on 1/17/24 and I no longer suffer from back pain and I'm able to walk again. I highly recommend this facility, 10 Stars!!!
Ann Adkins
Ann Adkins
Wonderful experience with Dr. Iqbal & her staff! She is amazing! She listens to her patients & immediately developed a plan to address my back & neck pain. I already feel SO much better and am confident that her plan for me will mean continued improvement. Her staff is wonderful too - friendly, helpful & responsive. I highly recommend Dr. Iqbal & her team!
Camille Adams
Camille Adams
The staff are very kind and helpful, and Dr. Iqbal is very good at what she does. Would recommend to all my friends and family.
Noor Malik
Noor Malik
My PCP recommended Dr. Mehreen and she was wonderful through out the entire injection process. She took her time explaining everything and was patient through out the process. In my opinion, she is the best pain management doc around.
Jessie Wilson
Jessie Wilson
I love Dr. Iqbal and her staff, I couldn't be any luckier to have found her practice. Dr. Iqbal listens well and explains in detail any procedures. She is honest, caring, and down to earth. She and her staff are the greatest. I would recommend her to any of my friends or family.
Shimmerynight Skies
Shimmerynight Skies
My mother is a patient here and the staff is super nice, fun, and sweet! I highly recommend coming here for friendly service
Excellent doctor. Dr. Iqbal explained every thing in detail and laid out a very clear plant to treat the problem/pain.