Will my injection hurt?

A needle will be used to give you your injection both to numb the area where the injection will be targeted and then another needle; a “spinal needle” will be used to administer your medication. Some patients describe the feeling of the injection of the numbing medicine as a “pinch,” and the administration of the actual medication as “pressure”; however, all patient perceptions are different. We do make every effort to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Will I be put to sleep for my procedure?

There are a few procedures that are done in the surgery center that require more than the usual local anesthetic, and for these procedures we use what is known as “conscious sedation.” For this type of anesthesia an IV will be placed in your arm prior to your procedure and you will be given medication through the IV just prior to the start of the procedure. Technically, you are not “asleep” for the procedure but rather very relaxed and able to respond to the doctor or nurse as needed during the procedure. For this sedation, you will be required not to eat or drink at least six hours prior to the start of the procedure and a responsible driver must accompany you.

Does the practice prescribe narcotic medications?

Every referral to our practice is individually assessed for a treatment plan that will best meet their needs. Our practice prides itself on the use of interventional procedures and is staffed with two board-certified physicians in anesthesiology and pain management and a physician assistant with significant pain management expertise. A narcotic prescription is an individualized decision that is made case by case.

I’m afraid to have an epidural seroid injection. Can I be paralyzed, and what are the risks?

As with all invasive medical procedures, there are potential risks. Generally, however, there are few risks associated with epidural steroid injections and they tend to be rare. Risks may include:

  • Infection – At the injection site or systemic.
  • Bleeding – Bleeding is a rare complication and is more common for patients with underlying bleeding disorders.
  • Nerve damage – While extremely rare, nerve damage can occur from direct trauma from the needle or secondarily from infection or bleeding.
  • Dural puncture (“wet tap”) – A dural puncture occurs in 0.5% of injections. It may cause a post-dural puncture headache (also called a spinal headache) that usually gets better within a few days. The physician may determine that a blood patch may be necessary to alleviate the headache.

What kind of injections do you perform?

Depending on your visit, if being seen in our clinic you may be given a bedside treatment of trigger point injections; joint injections; knee, shoulder and/or greater occipital nerve block; or you may be referred to return for a visit to our adjacent surgery center for an epidural steroid injection.

Do you use steroids?

We do use steroids when indicated to provide a desired treatment response, but we use them at the lowest dose possible to reach a desired therapeutic response.

If I decide to get an epidural steroid injection, how long can I expect it to work, or provide relief for me?

Response to treatment varies patient to patient, and sometimes more than one epidural is needed to achieve the desired outcome in a treatment plan. Some patients experience relief from symptoms for weeks to months and even up to a year or more following epidural injection(s). The severity of the disease process or injury impacts response to treatment.


Call us at 814.940.2000 for any additional concerns or questions you may have regarding procedures and treatment options performed at Allegheny Surgery Center. You can also have your physician refer you for an appointment through our online referral form.


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