An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a common way to treat inflammation associated with back pain, as well as related pain in the neck, legs, or arms. Spinal nerves may become inflamed due to narrowing of the passages where nerves travel as they pass down or out of the spine. An epidural procedure delivers powerful anti-inflammatory medicine directly into the space outside the spinal sac of fluid around the spinal cord. This area is called the epidural space. An ESI is not the same as epidural anesthesia given just before childbirth or certain types of surgery.
Your doctor will first complete a history of the presenting injury, gathering clues on how your particular injury occurred. They will then continue to perform a physical examination, testing for a range of motion and checking to see if there is any pain when pressure is applied to the area. A neurological exam will also allow the doctor to assess nerves, muscle strength, and reflexes. This initial assessment will need to be complemented by more definitive diagnostic testing, which in the case of lumbar spondylosis, comes in the form of image testing. The following are some of the various tests: