Spinal Corticosteroid Injection

A spinal corticosteroid injection places corticosteroids into tissue around the spine. Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce painful swelling and irritation. They are injected into the back with a needle.

  • Call Your Doctor


    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the injection site
    • Shortness of breath or chest pain
    • Numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness, especially in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
    • Changes in urine or bowel function
    • Sudden increase in weight of more than five pounds

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A spinal corticosteroid injection places corticosteroids into tissue around the spine. Corticosteroids are drugs that reduce painful swelling and irritation. They are injected into the back with a needle.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    The procedure is done to:

    • Reduce pain caused by swelling and irritation around the spine

    • Improve physical function for people with persistent
      low back pain
      and/or sciatica


    Spinal injections are typically done when pain is not relieved by:

    • Rest
    • Ice and heat therapies
    • Medications
    • Physical therapy
    • Back exercises
    • Changes to the physical set-up of the work environment
    • Changes to physical activities, including work
    • Spinal manipulation

  • Possible Complications


    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an injection, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Headache
    • Allergic reaction to the medication
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Nerve damage
    • Fainting


    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Current infection
    • Certain pre-existing medical conditions
    • Treatment with blood thinners or certain other medications
    • Poor health