Convulsions, depression, emotional instability, euphoria , headache, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually following discontinuation of treatment, insomnia, mood swings, neuritis, neuropathy , paresthesia , personality changes, psychiatric disorders, vertigo . Arachnoiditis , meningitis , paraparesis / paraplegia , and sensory disturbances have occurred after intrathecal administration. Spinal cord infarction , paraplegia, quadriplegia , cortical blindness , and stroke (including brainstem ) have been reported after epidural administration of corticosteroids (see WARNINGS : Serious Neurologic Adverse Reactions with Epidural Administration and WARNINGS : Neurologic ).
Radiculopathy occurs when something irritates a spinal nerve—say a “slipped disc” causing a pinched nerve. This is also called sciatica . There are resident stem and other cells in the local tissues everywhere in our body. Many live around blood vessels. These are obviously also present in the disc and nerves in the epidural space and they usually play an important role in suppressing inflammation and repairing damage. We know, based on a copious in vitro (lab) data, that the high-dose steroids used in epidural injections can kill these cells. So the progression of the series of epidural steroid injections looks a little something like this:
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.