Patients normally receive specific instructions from a doctor on how to prepare for an epidural injection, but they are generally able to eat a small meal several hours before the procedure, as stated by eMedicineHealth. They may continue taking their normal medications but must avoid anti-inflammatory drugs and blood thinners.
If a sedative is to be used for the procedure, the patient should not eat or drink anything for several hours before the injection and should have a responsible adult available at discharge, according to Spine-health. The patient may be asked to change into a hospital gown upon arrival, and he then lies flat on an X-ray table with a pillow placed under the lower back to make a slight curve. The medical professional then cleans the chosen injection site before applying a local anesthetic. The epidural steroid solution is slowly injected, and the patient may feel some pressure.
After the procedure, the patient is normally monitored for 15 to 20 minutes, states Spine-health. Tenderness at the injection site may be treated by applying an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes no more than twice an hour, and the patient can generally resume normal activities the next day. More than 50 percent of patients experience some degree of pain relief after an epidural injection. The procedure may be repeated if successful.