Although epidural steroid injections (also called epidural corticosteroid injections) may be helpful to confirm a diagnosis, they should be used primarily after a specific presumptive diagnosis has been established. Also, injections should not be used in isolation, but rather in conjunction with a program stressing muscle flexibility, strengthening, and functional restoration.
Epidural injections and intradiscal injections have been used in the treatment of non-radicular degenerative disc disease with limited success. Proper follow-up after injections to assess the patient's treatment response and ability to progress in the rehabilitation program is essential. A limited number of injections can be tried to reduce pain, but careful monitoring of the response is required prior to a second or third injection.
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.
Sometimes steroids are used during the infusion of an RA biologic medicine in order to combat any potential reactions or side effects. This is most common with those given via infusion including Remicade, Rituxan , Orenica, and Actemra. Before I receive a Rituxan infusion, a rather large dose of 80-100 mgs of liquid methylprednisolone steroid is injected directly into the intravenous line. The nurse injects the steroid slowly over several minutes in order to avoid what she calls a “head rush” from the powerful medicine. This dose usually gets me quite hyped up for the next 24 hours and sleep is difficult.