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Discharge Instructions for Spinal Corticosteroid Injection

A spinal corticosteroid injection was done to put steroid medicine in your back to ease pain and swelling.

Steps to Take

Home Care

It is normal to feel sore after. It will go away in a few days.

Put a cold pack on the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to ease pain. Do this a few times during the day. Put a towel between the ice pack and your skin.

To care for the injection site:

  • Clean the site as you were taught by your care team.
  • You can shower, bathe, and soak in water when your care team has said it is safe to do so.


Do not drink alcohol for the first 24 hours after your injection.

Physical Activity

You will need to rest on the day of the injection. Do not drive until the doctor has said it is safe.

You can go back to normal activities the day after the injection.


Your doctor may need to check on your progress. Go to all appointments.

Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occur

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Severe pain
  • A headache that is worse when you sit or stand and gets better when you lie down
  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, more pain, bleeding, or leaking from the injection site
  • Numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness, especially in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Changes in urine or bowel function
  • Sudden weight gain of more than 5 pounds

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Sports Med—American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine


Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation


Administration of medicine: Administering high-dose steroids for spinal cord injury. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated June 22, 2018. Accessed June 12, 2019.

Epidural steroid injections. Know Your Back website. Available at: https://www.spine.org/KnowYourBack/Treatments/InjectionTreatmentsforSpinalPain/EpiduralSteroidInjections.aspx. Accessed June 12, 2019.

Spine injection. Massachusetts General Hospital website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/imaging/services/procedure.aspx?id=2268. Accessed June 12, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 11/22/2019