Lumbar epidural steroid injections: indications, contraindications, risks, and benefits

Curr Sports Med Rep. Jan-Feb 2010;9(1):43-9. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181caa7fc.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contraindications
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Acute / diagnosis
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Acute / etiology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural / adverse effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects*
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Radiculopathy / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiculopathy / drug therapy
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Steroids / administration & dosage*
  • Steroids / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Steroids