Potential risks associated with epidural cervical steroid injections include the possibility of the patient developing an infection, numbness of the bladder or bowels, and dural puncture, which produces a spinal headache for a few days, as Spine-health explains. Some patients, especially those with underlying bleeding disorders, experience bleeding following steroid injections. In rare cases, nerve damage can result from an infection, bleeding or trauma from the needle.
Some side effects of epidural steroid injections include a localized increase in pain, fever the night of the injection, high blood sugar levels and a transient decrease in immunity, according to Spine-health. Patients may also experience anxiety, sleeplessness, facial flushing, stomach ulcers and severe arthritis of the hips. In some cases, patients can develop cataracts following epidural steroid injections.
Epidural steroid injections deliver medication directly to the spine, known as the epidural space, that is filled with small blood vessels and fat, as described by Spine-health. Steroidal injections are designed to reduce pain and inflammation, and both fast-acting anesthetics as well as long-lasting medications are used during this procedure. Medical providers use epidural steroid injections to relieve the pain caused by pinched nerves associated with arthritis and back problems that produce inflammation, irritation and swelling in various parts of the body. The medications they administer inhibits inflammation near the source of the pain.