When neck pain becomes more than just a saying, a cervical epidural steroid injection is one treatment option that might help. A cervical steroid injection uses both an injection of both a steroid to control inflammation and a long-lasting anesthetic for pain relief.
These injections are typically delivered into the cervical spine, the seven vertebrae that make up the neck portion of your spine. The injection is placed in the dura of the cervical spine. This is the space between the spinal cord and the vertebrae. Cervical epidural steroid injections are a minimally-invasive procedure that can help relieve pain for some patients with severe or chronic neck and upper extremity pain.
For many, it may help them avoid spinal surgery. Cervical steroid injections are simple and relatively painless, but they can help with some very painful conditions. These include:. Patients who experience neck pain or upper body pain that originates in the cervical spine typically feel pain or discomfort that radiates across the tops of their shoulders and moves into their arms and hands.
This radiating pain is referred to as cervical radiculitis or radiculopathy. As with sciatic pain experienced in the lower extremities, cervical radiculitis may feel like:. This type of pain occurs when a nerve in your neck is compressed or impinged due to any of the conditions listed above. Although cervical epidural steroid injections are generally administered after more conservative treatments have failed, they can help you avoid cervical spinal surgery when your pain is intractable.
On the day of the procedure, you may receive a mild IV sedative to help you relax, especially if you are anxious about it. Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have. Your healthcare team is there to help you feel more at ease. The area to be injected will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Your doctor will use fluoroscopic guidance to position a thin needle in the epidural space, injecting a dye first to ensure that the medication is in the right place. This helps provide more targeted pain relief and can minimize potential risks.
Once the needle is in place, medications are injected. The medications include both a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic, usually lidocaine or bupivacaine. Steroids can help reduce inflammation and irritation, and the anesthetic disrupts pain messages to the brain.
The entire procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes. You can learn more about the procedure in the following video. This pain treatment is considered an appropriate non-surgical treatment for many patients who suffer from neck pain. As with all procedures, cervical epidural steroid injections do have risks. They are typically rare, though. Complications of the injection can include bleeding, infection, headaches, and nerve damage. There are numerous conditions that may cause neck and upper back pain such as cervical radiculitis, a herniated disc, strained muscles, and pinched nerves.
Cervical radiculitis occurs due to excessive pressure that is placed on spinal nerves, especially in the neck region, causing the nerves to become irritated and inflamed. The inflamed nerves extend from the spinal cord into various areas of the body and, because nerves are responsible for pain signal transmission, damaged nerves can result in chronic pain.
Patients who have cervical radiculitis typically report experiencing sharp pains that shoot down one of the arms as well as weakness and numbness in the extremities. One of the most effective forms of treatment for cervical radiculitis and chronic neck pain is a cervical epidural steroid injection. Research shows that an epidural steroid injection can rapidly reduce pain and completely alleviate pain for some individuals. The mechanism of action for steroid injections is still being studied, but it has been proposed that the medication, particularly the steroid that is injected, targets inflammation.
Steroids also have additional useful properties that make them especially effective, which include an ability to promote the stability of the membranes surrounding the nerves and to hinder the conduction of ions. These processes are associated with reduced pain. A meta-analysis study that focused on reviewing clinical reports regarding the effectiveness and safety of steroid injections, included data that was obtained over a span of ten years.
The results showed strong support for the administration of epidural steroid injections to treat chronic pain. The effects of steroid injections are generally long-term, but the mechanism that is responsible for this effect is still unclear. It has been concluded, however, that repeated injections that are performed over a one-year period can improve the long-term effects of the injections. In order to understand the injection procedure and where the medication is injected, a brief description of the spinal region will first be explained.
The spinal region includes a column of individual bones, called vertebrae, that encase and protect the spinal cord. A vast number of nerves extend out from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is held in place by a strong membrane.
Neck pain is caused by several factors including recent trauma or old injury, disc misalignment or herniation, poor posture,congenital issues or even a sudden movement or jolt. In our office, we carefully review imaging films of each patient and discuss options for treating cervical pain. We may recommend cervical spine epidural injections as they can offer longer term pain management than pain medication alone.
Coordination of care with physical therapists and reviews of patient data from orthopedists, spine surgeons, neurologists and chiropractors enable our pain management services expert team to offer many options for neck pain patients. We understand how neck pain affects your daily life and hinders your home, social and work lives. We offer real treatment plans individualized for each patient. Our specialists have seen hundreds of neck pain patients and realize each patient has a different presentation.
We review and discuss each case to best treat each patient who may present with other medical problems in addition to their pain. We offer the option of cervical epidural steroid injection to reduce inflammation and pain in the affect cervical vertebrae. This often results in results in as few as 24 hours and lasting up to several months in some patients. In other patients, additional injections may be necessary. Our patients find relief when pain medication is delivered to exactly where it is needed.
Surgical societies and facilities have guidelines in place to limit these complications. Cervical epidural injections are a commonly used, and potentially powerful tool in the treatment of persistent, severe neck pain. Many factors need to be taken into consideration when determining whether these types of injections are appropriate for a specific individual and whether the potential risks are outweighed by the potential benefits.
Are you considering a cervical epidural spinal injection? Find a spine specialist near you who can help. Injections vs Noninvasive Treatment: Anesthesiology. Fluoroscopy-guided Injections: Pain Medicine. Part II: guidance and recommendations. A systematic review. Epidurals and Nerve Blocks. North American Spine Society. Sign up to receive free updates on back pain treatments, research, and doctor-reviewed spine health information.
Stay Informed with SpineUniverse Sign up to receive free updates on back pain treatments, research, and doctor-reviewed spine health information. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions or back problem. SpineUniverse does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the SpineUniverse. Sign up for our newsletter, and get this free sanity-saving guide to life in the time of corona. Continue Reading:.
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|How many epidural steroid injections can you have||They include:. The area to be injected will be numbed with a local anesthetic. The epidural space surrounds the dura. Epidural means the medicine goes into the space around the dura. Read on to learn more about this common procedure. A January study lead by doctors at the University of Utah 3 examined the effectiveness of fluoroscopically guided cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection for the treatment of radicular pain. Talking to your doctor about any and all allergies or past adverse reactions can also help.|
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