Epidural injections may be used as anesthetic or analgesic, depending upon the course of treatment. For example, an epidural is administered as an anesthetic in pregnant women during labor to help them manage the pain. An epidural analgesic is generally used to treat irritation of the spinal nerves. Spinal nerves may get compressed due to a number of reasons, resulting into pain in the neck, back or lower back. Sometimes, the pain radiates down to the arms or legs.
However, the question is, can a spinal epidural injection cause a pinched nerve? Surprisingly, the answer is no! An epidural injection is used as a remedy to treat inflammation of spinal nerves due to constriction. Like every medication, epidural too has its own set of side effects and getting a pinched nerve is definitely not one of them. An epidural injection may aggravate the pain and tenderness from a pinched nerve. It may also trigger the symptoms of an already pinched nerve that weren’t symptomatic so far.
A patient administered with an epidural may experience increased irritability, mainly due to the following reasons.
- The spinal cord descending into the bony spinal column is protected by a sack of cerebrospinal fluid. The area just outside the fluid sack is called the epidural space. The procedure of epidural administration involves a needle that is inserted into the epidural space of the spine. The needle passes through the skin, muscles and cartilage into the spine. Evidently, the site of injection suffers damage, causing it to pain.
- The rupture may bleed excessively. There are chances of contracting an infection as well. Some people may misconstrue these side effects as symptoms of a pinched nerve.
An epidural injection administered incorrectly can cause an immense amount of pain. The needle breaking into the sac of cerebrospinal fluid causing it to leak is the most common misfortune a patient might face. There are possibilities of damage to the spinal cord and spinal nerves, with long-lasting episodes of pain and weakness in the neck, back and extremities.
Epidural steroids are used to treat pinched nerves. However, there are side-effects such as irritation at the site of injection that exacerbate the symptoms of pinched nerve. These side effects tend to wane as the rupture heals. The epidural doesn’t cause a pinched nerve. It is an epidural procedure going wrong that causes damage to the spinal cord and spinal nerves.