Common temporary side effects (1-5% of patients) following steroid injections include the following. These side effects typically resolve within 2-3 days post injection but rarely will persist for up to one week:
- Flushing or sweating
- Difficulty Sleeping, abnormally increased energy
- Water retention (more common in young to middle aged women)
- Irritability (more common in young men)
- Escalation of blood pressure in patients with an established diagnosis of hypertension
- Escalation of blood sugars in patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus
- Temporary increase in typical pain
- There may also be some tenderness at the needle insertion site. Should you experience this problem, you can place an ice pack on the area to reduce the discomfort, as often as you require (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off for 48 hours, if necessary).
What are the potential complications?
As with any invasive procedure, there are possible complications you may experience. These include:
- Allergic reaction
- Excessive bleeding
- Paralysis or other Permanent nerve damage
- Vasovagal episode during the procedure (fainting, nausea, lightheadedness)
- Dural puncture
- Cardiovascular collapse
Serious complications such as those outlined above are extremely rare, but must be taken into consideration prior to consenting to any surgical procedure, even one as minimally invasive as a spinal injection. The details of the risks and benefits of the specific spinal injection that you are scheduled for will be discussed with you by your treating physician.
For their safety, some patients may not be allowed to undergo spinal injections for the following reasons:
- Allergy to the contrast medium and/or drugs to be injected
- Significant asthma
- Bleeding problems
- Kidney disease
- Severe spinal abnormality