Physicians limit the number of epidural steroid injections to a maximum of three to avoid systemic side effects of the steroids. Side effects are minimal and consist mainly of mild tenderness in the area of injection which disappears in 1-2 days. Success is dependant on the cause of the pain and how long the pain has existed. The sooner the treatment is instituted, the better are the chances of getting well. This treatment, along with analgesics and physical therapy has brought relief to thousands of patients, avoiding , in the majority of cases, the need for surgery.
The ‘Two-Pin’ technique increases sanitation for multiple dose vial users. They draw with the first pin, and then shoot/inject into the body with a new one. This procedure prevents any residual contaminants that may have remained on the drawing pin from being transferred into the body via the injection site. It also makes injection less painful since the drawing needle is necessarily dulled during passage through the rubber stopper atop the vial. A dulled needle increases injection pain because it doesn’t pierce the body as cleanly as an unused one. The protocol below is followed by AAS users who draw from multiple dose vials, but steps 4 - 8 are routinely disregarded by those users who draw from ampoules (also called ampules) and sachets.