It has been said that in many cases acute or chronic back pain can subside on it’s own within 3-6 months. This does not always mean that the source of the pain has healed but the inflammation in the nerves that causes pain sensations may have diminished. Epidurals are particularly effective in these cases as they enable a person to return to every-day activities; be that work, or exercise, much sooner that waiting months for pain to subside on its own. In cases where chronic pain does not subside within this period an epidural may have a short-term impact and may be a stepping stone to a more permanent treatment & long-term solution.
This is a rare complication that may occur if a small hole is made in the fibrous sac and does not close up after the needle puncture. These small holes are only made in less than 1% of epidural injections and usually heal on their own. The spinal fluid inside can leak out, and when severe, the brain loses the cushioning effect of the fluid, which causes a severe headache when you sit or stand. These types of headaches occur typically about 2-3 days after the procedure and are positional - they come on when you sit or stand and go away when you lie down. If you do develop a spinal headache, it is OK to treat yourself. As long as you do not feel ill and have no fever and the headache goes away when you lay down, you may treat yourself with 24 hours of bed rest with bathroom privileges while drinking plenty of fluids. This almost always works. If it does not, contact the radiologist who performed the procedure or your referring physician. A procedure (called an epidural blood patch) can be performed in the hospital that has a very high success rate in treating spinal headaches.
I have had a series of both facet block injections and steroid epidurals with my most recent one in August, 2012. I have degenerative disc/spondylolisthesis at L4/5 diagnosed years ago. I am very fit and worked hard most of my life to eat healthy, exercise at an intense level, and keep my weight in normal range. Facet blocks and steroid epidurals will make you gain weight and even though I've continued to exercise and watch my diet throughout my treatments, I have still gained 10-15 lbs.
Some prescriptions like Lyrica will also make you gain wieght very quickly.