Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

Neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pain that keeps you from doing the things you love, leaves you aching, stiff, and afraid to move can destroy your quality of life, your happiness, and your hope when it seems to go on and on, with no relief.

However, a cervical epidural steroid injection might be the answer to your neck pain that you’ve been searching for. This procedure works to address the inflammation behind your chronic or severe pain so that you can take back your life.

At Cahaba Pain and Spine Care, our Board Certified Pain Physicians have performed thousands of cervical epidural steroid injections, making them experts at helping patients living with chronic pain and delivering life-changing results.

So that you can determine if a cervical epidural steroid injection is right for you, we’re answering all of your questions about the procedure, from how the procedure can help, to what to expect during and after your epidural.

What Is a Cervical Epidural and How Can It Help Me?

A cervical epidural is a minimally invasive procedure, involving an injection of a steroid medication plus an anesthetic numbing agent into the epidural space of your cervical spine. The epidural space is the area between your bony vertebra and the protective sac or dura that surrounds your spinal cord and nerves.

Inflammation in these areas can send pain signals along your nerves, but an epidural injection can help calm this inflammation to give you pain relief and allow your body the time it needs to heal. Cervical epidurals can provide effective relief in the case of disc problems or dural or nerve root inflammation thanks to the steroid which reduces inflammation and the anesthetic agent which disrupts pain signals.

In general, patients can expect to have a series of three epidurals, approximately two weeks apart to achieve full effect.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

To help keep you comfortable during your procedure, you will receive an IV so that you can receive relaxing medications. You will remain awake and aware throughout the procedure.

Your doctor will then have you lie on an x-ray table and position you for optimal visualization of your cervical spine. The skin of your neck will be cleansed and numbed to reduce your discomfort during the epidural itself. This medication does sting slightly, but most patients tolerate it well.

Your pain physician will then use x-ray guidance to insert a very small needle into your cervical epidural space and an injection of dye to ensure proper positioning. Once positioning is confirmed, the steroid and anesthetic medication is injected.

What Happens After My Epidural?

Once your procedure is completed, you will be transferred to a recovery area where you will spend 30 – 60 minutes. The nursing staff will closely monitor you and ask you to record your level of relief on an evaluation sheet. This sheet will also be sent home with you in order keep track of your pain episodes.

Upon discharge, you will need to have a driver available to take you home.

What Are the Results?

Although you may experience significant relief from your neck, shoulder, upper back, and arm pain following your initial cervical epidural, more injections may be performed in order to provide full and lasting pain relief.

The relief you feel may last months or years and your doctor may also recommend physical therapy or home exercises that can help you strengthen your neck and back muscles to help you get the most from your epidural.