Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I had a steroid injection for chronic sciatica. I got about 50 per cent improvement but it's slowly coming back. Should I have another injection? How many does it take to lick this problem?

Sciatica or pain in the low back, buttock, and down the leg is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower extremity. It usually only affects one side.

Steroid injection into the epidural space around the spinal nerve can give pain relief. There is some debate about whether or not the results are short-term or long-lasting.

Routine use of epidural steroid injections is not advised. Usually only one to three injections are given. The patient should be informed that these injections may not improve function. They may end up having surgery anyway.

Epidural steroid injections are considered safe. There are a few possible complications. Headache is the most common but doesn't last more than a few days.

Pain specialists advise patients to keep a pain log. Frequency, intensity, location, and duration of pain are recorded before and after the injection. The pain can be rated each day on a scale from zero (no pain) to 10 (most pain).

Even though this is a subjective measure, it can help you decide if you are getting pain relief, how much, and how long it's lasting. With repeated injections, you should see continued improvement that lasts and pain doesn't come back.


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