Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injections

Pain Management Services

What is a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection?

A thoracic epidural steroid injection is a spinal procedure done to treat shoulder or mid-back pain. Your doctor administers an injection to deliver steroids and other medications into the epidural space of your spine to relieve pain caused by pinched or inflamed nerves.

The epidural space has sensitive nerves traveling through it. The injection offers targeted relief by delivering pain-relieving medication near the sources of the nerve pain. The thoracic section has crucial functions, including housing sensitive nerves, protecting your lungs and heart, and supporting your chest.

If you’ve got chronic, persistent back pain, Dr. Ilana Etelzon, a pain management specialist in New York City, can help. The board-certified physical medicine and rehab/interventional pain management physician uses a non-operative approach to treat pain with minimally invasive and regenerative medicine procedures.

How Does a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection Work?

A thoracic epidural steroid injection contains medication to relieve pain in your mid-back and chest, abdomen and ribcage areas. Epidural steroid injections (ESI) provide both short and long-term pain relief. An ESI in the thoracic spine works by:

  • Reducing inflammation. The steroid medication in an epidural steroid injection helps in pain relief by reducing inflammation. The anti-inflammatory medicine mimics the function of cortisol, a hormone produced by your adrenal glands, which keeps inflammation down.
  • Providing pain relief. An epidural steroid injection also contains anesthetic or numbing medicine to ease pain in your thoracic spine.


The combined effects of steroids and anesthetic increase the effectiveness of a thoracic epidural steroid injection. You receive personalized treatment plans that may include other spinal procedures as well, including:

What Does a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection Treat?

Your doctor prescribes a thoracic epidural steroid injection to treat multiple pain-causing conditions in your back. An ESI may be recommended for conditions such as:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Disc herniation, bulging or slipped disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Thoracic radiculopathy
  • Sciatica
  • Post-operative or failed back surgery syndromes 
  • Bone spurs

Your doctor at the NYC pain management clinic assesses your thoracic spine to diagnose the underlying condition. Dr. Etelzon uses an individualized treatment approach based on the diagnosis to deliver the best results.

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What’s the Procedure for a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection?

A thoracic epidural steroid injection is an in-office procedure performed by a board-certified pain specialist. The following are the main steps in the injection:

  • Consultations. Your doctor listens to your concerns and examines your back and the symptoms. The procedure includes diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your thoracic spine pain.
  • Preparation. Before the epidural injection, your doctor may advise you to stop medications such as blood thinners. A few hours before the procedure, don’t eat or drink anything.
  • Anesthesia. Before the procedure, a doctor’s assistant administers local anesthetic on the injection site.
  • ESI. Your doctor chooses the best route for the injection and uses a contrast material and X-ray to guide the needle to the epidural space. The doctor injects the combination of pain and anti-inflammatory medicine into the target area.
  • Recovery. Immediately after the procedure, you wait for about 30 minutes at the doctor’s office for observation. You might feel some numbness around the site of the injection. You can resume normal activities after a day.


Am I Candidate for a Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection?

If you have nagging mid-back or shoulder pain, your pain doctor might recommend a thoracic epidural steroid injection. You may be a good candidate for an ESI if you:

  • Suffer from spinal nerve irritation or inflammation
  • Have back pain preventing you from normal physical activities
  • Are diagnosed with certain spinal conditions
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcome of the spinal treatment

At the pain management practice of Dr. Ilana Etelzon, the board-certified pain management specialist uses cutting-edge technology to perform successful pain-alleviating procedures. Contact the team at the NYC pain practice to restore your back health today.


Patient Testimonials

Patient Doctor Relationships Based on Trust

  • Dr. Etelzon always makes sure you are comfortable and leave her office with less pain you came in. She gets to the root of the problem. She's friendly. Clean office environment. No long waits, efficient visit. Highly satisfied with my treatment plan.
    Jacqueline Rodriguez Patient
  • Doctor Etelzon is very knowledgeable and really cares about her patients. She will take her time to discuss patients problem, answer questions and use her expertise to help. Dr. Etelzon maintains a friendly , clean , and efficient office environment.
    Narik Fuzailov Patient
  • Helped me with my pain! Great bedside manner. Highly recommend this doctor.
    Anonymous Patient
  • Dr.Etelzon is very knowledgeable and caring and has hands of hold! She was so thorough in her examination and really sees and hears the patient and determines a customized treatment. Thank you, Dr.Etelzon!
    Anonymous Patient
  • Dr. Ilana Etelzon thank you for your help, you have golden hands. Very attentive and knowledgeable doctor. The office staff is friendly and kind, you girls are beautiful.
    Valeriy Shek Patient (Google Review)
  • Dear Doctor Etelzon, Thank you again. I am starting to feel more like myself again...I couldn't say the problem is totally gone, but a big weight has been lifted...Today...I decided to go and do my nails which I did not do for a long time after the incident. I also asked my daughter if we could go to the park. These are things I normally enjoy but forgot about them for a few months now.
    Anonymous Patient
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