The steroid injection itself may cause a temporary increase in pain. As with many types of “shots”, the tissue around the injection site can be distressed, causing pain, swelling, and soreness. Pain and swelling from the injection will usually diminish in a matter of days. Each case is different, so patients will experience varying degrees and lengths of symptom relief. It is important to note that steroids are only a temporary solution for back pain. If the underlying cause of pain is severe, surgical treatment may eventually be required.
Elective spinal injections should be performed with imaging guidance, such as fluoroscopy or the use of a radiocontrast agent , unless that guidance is contraindicated.  Imaging guidance ensures the correct placement of the needle and maximizes the physician's ability to make an accurate diagnosis and administer effective therapy.  Without imaging, the risk increases for the injection to be incorrectly placed, and this would in turn lower the therapy's efficacy and increase subsequent risk of need for more treatment.  While traditional techniques without image guidance, also known as blind injections , can assure a degree of accuracy using anatomical landmarks, it has been shown in studies that image guidance provides much more reliable localization and accuracy in comparison.
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.