What is a Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection?
A damaged disc, whether due to injury, disease or another underlying condition, can cause nerve roots in the epidural space surrounding the neck to become compressed, inflamed and extremely uncomfortable. The swollen nerve root produces significant pain that can radiate from the neck and into the shoulders and arms. In some cases, it can even limit mobility.
A cervical epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure that precisely targets the nerve root with specialized medication that is then applied to the affected area. This oftentimes reduces inflammation and alleviates pain nearly immediately. If a nerve in the neck, shoulder or arms is pinched, compressed or causing you pain, a cervical epidural steroid injection may be the right option for relief.
Our Treatment Approach
Our cervical epidural steroid injections are administered by our highly trained interventional pain specialists. Performed as an outpatient procedure, the patient lays down and an area of the neck may be numbed with local anesthesia. The injection process typically follows these steps:
- The physician uses X-ray guidance to direct a small needle into the epidural space, where they will precisely locate the affected nerve root.
- A small amount of contrast solution is injected through the needle to ensure its proper position, and then a specialized combination of pain-alleviating anesthetics and anti-inflammatory steroid medication is injected into the epidural space.
- The irritated nerve root is bathed in this medicated solution and generally reduces inflammation right away. Rapid pain relief is typically experienced as well.
- After the procedure, the patient is taken to the recovery room to let the anesthesia dissipate. Once the anesthesia wears off and the patient is cleared by our physicians to go home, they can leave the same day.
Many patients experience significant pain relief after their first cervical epidural steroid injection, but some may need 2 or 3 treatments spread over a period of time to receive the full benefits of the medication. The end goal of this minimally invasive procedure is pain relief, reduced inflammation and an ability to return to the patient’s quality of life before their nerve root irritation.