The medication typically used for an injection is a combination of a steroid and an anesthetic solution. Steroids help interrupt the pain cycle, quiet nerves and reduce inflammation to provide a long-acting effect.
The steroids used in injections are not the "anabolic" steroids that have been misused by athletes. We use a cortisone type of steroid. All medications have side effects if used inappropriately, therefore, we limit the number of injections to keep the amount of steroids within a safe range.
One of the most common procedures performed is an epidural injection. Epidural injections are a mode of therapy that is midway between conservative therapy, such as an anti-inflammatory medication, or physical therapy and surgery. The epidural space is located outside the spinal sack and surrounds the nerve roots. The injection bathes the nerve root with a steroid solution. The goal of the epidural steroid injection is reduction of inflammation, thereby reducing pain.
This can vary. Sometimes it is necessary to receive more than one injection, but all injections carry some risk and they are used only when medically necessary. Some people experience complete relief, while others experience a partial reduction in pain with occasional flare-ups.