Caudal Epidurals With Steroids As A Treatment For Sciatica

Caudal Epidurals With Steroids As A Treatment For Sciatica


Caudal epidurals are not a standard option for treating sciatica, but where the pain is refractory in the sense that it will not respond to other treatments, this may be an option.


What Is Sciatica?


Sciatica is a relatively painful condition that results in a patient feeling pain within their legs. This pain is actually due to an invertebral disc in the back being inflamed, usually simply because the disc has suffered wear and tear. The pain is felt in the leg because the nerves in the vicinity of the damaged or worn disc are irritated. So they send pain signals back to the brain. The brain does not know, or rather is not told that the pain originates from the disc, so the brain lets you feel the pain in your leg, but the real problem is in the spine.


What Is A Caudal Epidural With Steroids?


A caudal epidural with steroids is nothing more than an injection into the lower back, in fact at the lowest point of the patient’s spine. The name epidural comes from the fact that it is injected into the specific area that is called the epidural space. This space is really important to the spine because it effectively surrounds the spinal cord and what is more, all the nerves that are the ‘pain’ nerves for the spine actually pass through this area.


The caudal epidural will effectively soak both the nerves and the intervertebral disc in a form of local anaesthetic. This effectively causes the pain to be numbed, thereby making the patient more comfortable.


Why Is A Steroid Used?


A steroid is used to reduce the inflammation that exists in the disc. Because the disc is not inflamed then the levels of pain will be reduced by the pain nerves being less irritated and so they are not sending pain signals to the brain.


Sometimes patients can be quite wary about taking steroids, but only a very small quantity of steroid will be used and in addition, the steroid used in an injection does not cause some of the unwanted side effects that patients can experience when they take steroid tablets. These steroids are also different from the (illicit) steroids that athletes may take to improve their performance, so patients need have no worries about having a caudal epidural with a steroid.


Why Is A Contrast Dye And X-ray Also Used?


Sometimes the pain that is experienced may in part be due to scarring, which may have resulted from previous surgery. This scarring can be detected by a contrasting dye being injected into the spinal canal. The dye shows up on an X-ray, so it is easy to see where there is scarring. The epidural can then be targeted towards the area that has been identified, to soothe it and numb the pain.


Is The Procedure Safe?


This is indeed a very safe procedure that has very few side effects and there is also a very quick recovery time from it. So it is not a procedure that patients need to fear.




Contact us
close slider

    I give consent to Spinal Healthcare processing data about myself and my medication condition. To review our privacy policy please click here.