A caudal epidural steroid injection is recommended if you have pain near your tailbone. This usually presents as a pain that radiates down the buttocks and the back of the legs. Also called sciatica, this pain can be described as sharp and shooting, or pins and needles. This can be caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc.
The caudal epidural steroid injection is comprised of both a local anesthetic and a steroid medication and can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The anesthetic medication alleviates nerve pain rapidly while the steroid medicine reduces inflammation and can provide long lasting relief. The steroid medication can take 2-3 days up to a week to fully work. Contrast dye is used to ensure the medication is correctly administered into the epidural space.
Blood thinning medications must be held prior to the injection as directed by your doctor. You must bring a driver with you to the appointment.
The side effects are similar to that of all procedures and include: bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. The chance of this happening is very rare as the doctor uses both a c-arm fluoroscope machine to guide him and contrast dye to ensure he is in the correct location. Potential side effects to the steroid medication include high blood sugar, facial flushing, and difficulty falling asleep. This only lasts about a day.
Reduce procedural discomfort by applying ice for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours to reduce injection site swelling and irritation. NSAIDs and/or Tylenol are also recommended.