Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
Cervical epidural steroid injections temporarily relieve pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms caused by pinched nerves in the cervical spine. Conditions such as herniated disks, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis can cause inflammation and pain by compressing nerves. After the injection, swelling of the nerves will decrease within two to seven days.
Before the injection, the patient will lie down and may receive intravenous sedation. Skin and tissue in the neck will be numbed with a local anesthetic delivered through a small needle.
Physicians will use x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) to move a larger needle to the affected area of the neck. The needle will then be inserted into the epidural space, which is a region where the spinal nerves travel. A combination anesthetic/cortisone steroid solution is injected into the epidural space. The steroid is an anti-inflammatory medication that the inflamed nerves absorb to reduce swelling and relieve pressure.
Once the needle is removed and a small bandage is applied, the procedure has ended. The patient will be moved to a recovery room, given food and a beverage, and discharged with instructions for post-treatment. Depending on the patient, up to three injections administered two weeks apart may be required to provide significant pain relief.