Epidural for pain relief - Edinburgh Clinic

Epidural for Pain Relief

Please read on to discover more about epidural injections. If you have any questions, please talk to your health professional.

All you need to know about epidural injections

Using local anaesthetic and sometimes steroids, this injection is inserted close to the spine in the epidural space. The anaesthetic numbs nerve pain, reducing overall pain in the area. Steroids are used to bring down inflammation when necessary and can help to extend the period in which the injection takes effect.

Where the epidural injection goes

The injection enters your back in one of four areas, depending on where your backache is located.

Figure 1
Different types of epidural injection

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The advantage of an epidural injection

An epidural injection can reduce back pain considerably and also improve mobility for a limited period.

Experiencing the procedure

The anaesthetic works to numb the nerve pain; when steroids are included any sore redness is reduced. The injection is given by a doctor to accurately reach the site. He or she will also remove the needle when the procedure is complete in anything from 15 minutes to half an hour.

Possible problems

  • Worsening of the pain
  • Non-effective pain relief
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Leg and arm weakness
  • Trouble going to the toilet
  • Backache
  • Headaches
  • Infection of the spine close to the site
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clot close to the spine
  • Seizure
  • Unexpected high block


Short-term relief from back pain is the most common response to this treatment. Complications are unusual.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.