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Musculoskeletal Services

Caudal Epidural

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This information is offered as a guide to you and your family providing information on this treatment. Your treatment will be fully explained by your doctor or nurse who will be happy to answer any questions.

What is a caudal epidural?

A caudal epidural is a procedure that targets back pain by injecting a combination of an anti-inflammatory (steroid) and numbing medicine (anaesthetic) into the spinal canal. The aim is to relieve your back pain.

Who benefits?

An epidural injection may help patients with low back pain that spreads to the lower part of the leg if there is evidence of pressure on the nerve supply.

How is it given?

  • You will be lying on your side with your legs curled up.
  • The doctor numbs a small area of skin on the lower back. This takes several seconds to work.
  • A small needle is then guided into the epidural space. The position of the needle is checked by injecting some air.
  • If the needle is in the right place then a mixture of anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory is injected.
  • You will continue to lie on your side for two hours after the procedure turning over every 30 minutes.
  • You will be allowed home once you have passed urine.

What to expect?

  • You will be asked for your consent before the procedure.
  • During the injection your pain may increase temporarily.
  • Following the procedure you will be asked to rest for two hours with nursing staff checking your blood pressure and pulse.
  • After this period you may return home if you have passed urine.
  • You may experience some initial discomfort for about 2-3 days.
  • Once the medication reaches the inflamed area, your pain should be relieved. Generally this takes 24-48 hours but varies from person to person.
  • The benefits of the caudal epidural vary from person to person and can last between four weeks to six months.

Are there any risks/side effects?

Risks of caudal epidural include:

  • The epidural not working
  • Infection at the injection site
  • Bleeding at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Risk of epidural sac being perforated


It is very important to inform the medical staff if you are currently taking any blood thinning drugs i.e. wafarin or aspirin before the procedure.

Do you need any follow up or aftercare?

You will be reviewed by your consultant after 2-3 months.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your epidural please contact:

Dr Bridget Griffiths’ Secretary: 0191 2137978 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm)

Michelle Rutherford (Staff Nurse, Ward 19 Day Unit) 0191 2336161 Ext 27752 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm)

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