Epidural injections have been used in the treatment of back pain and sciatica for about 90 years. The use of
Epidural injections have seen some controversy in the 1980s because of the use of cortisone. Since that time, the National Health and Medical Research Council has determined that there are no definite adverse effects with the use of cortisone in epidural injections. Epidural injections are mainly known as an injection for pain relief during childbirth, where the effect is only for a fairly short period. In contrast, epidurals are used in back problems in an attempt to produce long-term relief.
When only local anaesthetic is used, it is reasonable to assume that only short-term relief could possibly be obtained from the injection. In reality, the opposite seems to be the case. Epidural injections without cortisone can induce long-term pain relief. The epidural injection is injected into the epidural space. The spinal cord is enclosed within a sac of fluid, which is contained by a membranous layer called the dural sac. The epidural space is the space between this dural sac and the bony vertebral column.