We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Epidural Cortisol Injection?

By Sandra Koehler
Updated Feb 07, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An epidural cortisol injection is a treatment option to help manage symptoms brought on when a nerve becomes irritated. This shot, a man-made combination of cortisone and an anesthetic, was created to mimic the natural stress response steroid secreted from the adrenal gland. Injected into the area of irritation, it aids in reducing inflammation and decreasing pain.

To prevent inflammation and aid in restoring the body's internal stability during stressful conditions, the body releases cortisol into the blood stream. It is a temporary reaction meant to be short in duration. Since it is released into the blood, prolonged cortisol secretion can affect the body's ability to maintain a stable internal environment.

The artificial version of this steroid, administered by an epidural cortisol injection, was created to be given directly into the area of irritation. This aids in the management of local symptoms without it traveling through the blood stream. Avoiding the blood means the concentration of the cortisol can be stronger. The addition of a local an anesthetic, such as lidocaine, aids in the reduction of pain symptoms.

The anti-inflammatory medication of an epidural cortisol injection is pushed into epidural space through a needle. This space is the area surrounding the spinal cord inside the vertebrae or spinal bones. Inside this canal-like area, the nerves attach to the spinal cord. Attacking nerve irritation and inflammation in the epidural space can be an effective means to lessen pain.

In addition to diminishing inflammation, an epidural cortisol injection can reduce related symptoms such as local or radiating pain traveling through the length of the nerve. It can also decrease the burning or tingling often associated with nerve irritation. By lessening these problems, it also aids in preventing limitations such as muscle weakness.

Lasting several weeks to several months, the benefits of an epidural cortisol injection are temporary but continue longer than the naturally produced steroid. Often, an injection every few months is necessary for pain and inflammation management. Since it is not put directly into the blood, the medication will not usually affect the body's blood sugar or immunity long term as can be experienced with a chronic secretion of natural cortisol.

Side effects of an epidural cortisol infection can include a temporary rise in blood sugar and irritation at the site of the needle entrance. Bleeding issues are uncommon but can occur if there are blood-related health conditions present. Occasionally, the needle pierces the protective covering of the epidural space. Called a dural tear, this break in the membrane can cause the fluid inside to seep out, triggering severe headaches which may require a blood patch to halt the leak.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.