Epidural injections contain a strong anti-inflammatory agent called corticosteroid and an aesthetic for pain relief. It is not the same as an epidural anaesthesia given before birth to decrease labour pain. Epidural injections are given to relieve pain in the neck, back, arm and leg due to inflammation of spinal nerves from conditions such as spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, herniated disc, degenerative disc and sciatica.
Epidural injections are administered into the epidural space of the spine. The epidural space is the space between the outermost covering of the spinal cord (dura mater) and the wall of the spinal canal. It is approximately 5mm wide and is filled with spinal nerve roots, fat and small blood vessels.