Epidural steroid injection puts a solution of numbing agent and steroid (anti-inflammatory) into the epidural space. This space surrounds the spinal cord. The result is to reduce pain and swelling and allow healing of the tissue.
Returning to work depends on several things. The doctor can best advise you based on how severe the disc protrusion is and the type of work you do. You may be able to return to work right away or within 48 to 72 hours.
Some doctors will do an MRI seven to 14 days after the injection to see the condition of the disc. Planning is easier when the tissue can be seen in this way.