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What Are Some Potential Side Effects of Epidural Steroid Injections?

 We all know people who complain of back pain, but unless you have experienced it yourself, it is almost impossible to understand exactly how devastating and debilitating it can be. Epidural steroid injections have proven to be an extremely effective treatment option for those who are suffering from both sciatica and low back pain. The injections may be offered on their own to address acute episodes of back pain, offering temporary relief that allows a patient to return to basic function. They can also be offered in combination with exercise and rehabilitation to provide a more long-term solution. Though these injections have been used for over fifty years and are considered to be safe, they are not without risk. If you are a candidate for one of these procedures, you should know what the potential side effects of epidural steroid injections are, and what steps you should take if you experience any long-lasting negative impacts.

Although your physician may assure you about the safety of epidural steroid injections, you should keep in mind that it is still an invasive medical procedure and that it carries very real risks and side effects. The most common side effect of these procedures is numbness of the bladder and bowels, but these are generally temporary and the symptoms go away in a short period of time. There is also risk of severe infection at the site of the injection, and this could potentially infiltrate the spine.

Another, more serious risk involved with epidural steroid injection is that of dural puncture. This describes a condition that results when the injection punctures the covering of the spinal cord and a small amount of fluid leaks out, leading to a severe headache. This problem can generally be addressed through a procedure known as a blood patch. During a blood patch, blood is removed from a vein in the arm and then injected into the epidural space to form a clot that stops the leak.

Other common injuries that can result from these injections include:

  • Damage to surrounding nerves caused by direct trauma from the needle or from infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Epidural abscess
  • Increased level of pain around the injection area
  • Partial paralysis
  • Complete paralysis of the limbs
  • Bleeding

There are also problems that can result from the steroid medication itself. These include facial flushing, anxiety, insomnia, high blood sugar, a decrease in immune system efficiency, stomach ulcers, cataracts and arthritis.

Though side effects of epidural steroid injection happen infrequently, when they do occur they are often a result of medical malpractice on the part of the medical practitioner. When a physician, anesthesiologist or other health care provider fails to provide the generally accepted standard of care they may be held responsible for the damage they cause. If you or someone you love has suffered this type of injury, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. To learn more, contact the law firm of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.


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