Share this article on:

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections: Indications, Contraindications, Risks, and Benefits

Friedrich, Jason M.; Harrast, Mark A.

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181caa7fc
Section Articles

The clinical use of lumbar epidural steroid injections has increased dramatically. Although there are certainly beneficial effects to using epidural steroid injections in a treatment regimen for lumbar radicular pain, there is a lack of well designed, placebo-controlled studies to define conclusively specific indications and techniques for different spinal diagnoses. This article reviews the pathophysiology of lumbar radiculopathy and the use of epidural steroid injections as one treatment option, as well as describes their risks and benefits. Based on current literature, we offer an evidence-based perspective regarding rational use of lumbar epidural steroid injections for certain indications and treatment goals.

University of Washington, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seattle, WA

Address for correspondence: Mark A. Harrast, M.D., University of Washington, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, UW Medicine Sports and Spine Physicians, Box 359721, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104 (E-mail: mharrast@uw.edu).

© 2010 American College of Sports Medicine