Q: What is an ESI?
A: An ESI is the abbreviated form for Epidural Steroid Injection. The purpose of an ESI is to inject a steroid (anti-inflammatory medicine) directly into the area causing the patient's discomfort. By putting the steroid in the epidural space of the back, the medicine can work with full concentration on the painful, tender, inflamed area. The medication decreases swelling, inflammation, irritation: thus, hopefully increasing healing time and decreasing the discomfort coming from the back.
Q: Will the steroid injection cause me to gain weight?
A: It may cause slight weight gain: however, less than 5 lbs have been reported.
Q: Is this steroid injection like what the body builder's use? Will it make me more muscular?
A: No. The steroid used in an injection is a corticosteroid, not an anabolic steroid. A corticosteroid is an anti-inflammatory steroid. In other words, it decreases inflammation. An anabolic steroid, which body builders use, does nothing for inflammation or pain. It is a synthetic hormone, which causes the body to produce more muscle mass.
Q: If I have a steroid injection, what are some of the possible side effects?
A: A steroid injection is used in the injection area to decrease inflammation. Some of the positives may include a decrease in the inflammation and a positive mood change. Other side effects include fluid retention, insomnia, and an increase in your blood sugar level if you have diabetes. If steroid injections are going to be used for the management of your condition, the physician will monitor the number of injections you receive. There is a limit to the number of steroid injections you can have in a given time period.
Q: Do I need to bring anything with me or send anything to you before my appointment?
A: It is required that you have all your diagnostic information such as x-ray results, CT scan or MRI reports, x-ray films and consult notes sent to us prior to your initial appointment. Consult your physician or other facility, to make sure you have them with you upon your arrival. Also, it may be a good idea to bring a designated driver in case you opt for a conscious sedation.
Q: How long will I be at the clinic?
A: You appointment could last anywhere from 1-2 hours.
Q: Do I need a referral?
A: You can either come from a referral from another physician or health care provider or you can refer yourself; either way is acceptable. You will need to check with your provider so that you have your referral, if needed, prior to your appointment time.
Q: Will my health insurance cover my pain treatment?
A: In many cases, third-party payers, including Worker's Compensation, Medicaid, and Medicare cover pain management. However, you may need a referral from your primary care physician. You will need to check with your insurance carrier so that you know what is covered and if a referral is needed.