The steroid medication begins to take effect in one to two days at which point you should start to see some benefit. The steroid will continue to improve with the peak effect occuring at about two weeks. Thereafter, the effect will stabilize and should last several weeks to months. Typically, the pain relief experienced from this procedure lasts 3-6 months, but there is significant variability from patient to patient and from one procedure to another. If and when the pain starts to return, this procedure can be repeated to try and attain some pain relief once again. Keep in mind that this injection may work very well for pain certain areas but may not help with others. This is normal. Areas of pain that do not respond may need other treatments, which you can discuss with your doctor.
The patient is made to lie, face down on the procedure table. In some instances, a pillow is placed under the abdomen area to ensure a curved lumbar area for easier access of the foramen. A numbing medicine of local anesthetic is given to the patient to numb the tissue and skin to be injected. Next, a contract dye comes after to make sure that the actual medication hits the correct targeted nerves. Through the guidance of an x-ray, a steroid medication is placed around the specific nerve causing the pain or the problem. The injection will be withdrawn and the patient is made to rest for 20-30 minutes for observation and feedback.