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.
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Thirteen patients who developed 15 ruptured tendons subsequent to injection of a depository steroid in or about the tendons are described. Eight were treated surgically. Ruptures were encountered in three Achilles tendons, two supraspinati, one lateral epicondylar attachment at the elbow, eight tendons of the long head of the biceps at the shoulder, and one anterior tibial tendon. Measures designed to lessen this complication are described. In most cases triamcinolone hexacetonide was used as the depository steroid, mixed with procaine or lidocaine. Patients with this complication who were not treated surgically were the older patients who had ruptures of the tendon of the long head of the biceps.