Epidural injections are often used to treat radicular pain, also called sciatica , which is pain that radiates from the site of a pinched nerve in the low back to the area of the body aligned with that nerve, such as the back of the leg or into the foot. Inflammatory chemicals (. substance P, PLA2, arachidonic acid, TNF-α, IL-1, and prostaglandin E2) and immunologic mediators can generate pain and are associated with common back problems such as lumbar disc herniation or facet joint arthritis . These conditions, as well as many others, provoke inflammation that in turn can cause significant nerve root irritation and swelling.
I have had a series of both facet block injections and steroid epidurals with my most recent one in August, 2012. I have degenerative disc/spondylolisthesis at L4/5 diagnosed years ago. I am very fit and worked hard most of my life to eat healthy, exercise at an intense level, and keep my weight in normal range. Facet blocks and steroid epidurals will make you gain weight and even though I've continued to exercise and watch my diet throughout my treatments, I have still gained 10-15 lbs.
Some prescriptions like Lyrica will also make you gain wieght very quickly.
For many people, back pain goes away on its own or with nonsurgical treatments. Epidural steroid injections shouldn't typically be used as a first-line therapy for back pain relief, but that doesn't mean they can't play a role in treating pain. But injections won't cure the underlying cause of back pain, and they provide only temporary relief. Unfortunately, in many cases, chronic back pain can't be cured, but must instead be managed, like other chronic conditionsand patients must have realistic expectations of what epidurals can do.