Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
A cervical epidural steroid injection is an injection administered directly into the epidural area of the spine. This is a non-surgical method of treatment to reduce swelling and pain in the spine. The injection may also contain a mixture of lidocaine to assist with pain associated with inflammation, or a saline solution to flush inflammatory proteins out of the affected area.
Cervical epidural steroid injections can be used to treat pain in the neck, back, shoulders, and arms. This pain could be caused by conditions such as cervical radiculitis, cervical bulging discs, and cervical spinal stenosis. Patients suffering from symptoms of sciatica, nerve root compression, herniated discs, and spinal inflammation may benefit from cervical epidural steroid injections.
Before the procedure, the injection site is numbed with a local anaesthetic. The site is then injected with a contrast solution, allowing the physician to guide the epidural injection with the help of fluoroscopy. Patient sedation may be offered on an as-needed basis. The procedure usually takes only 10-15 minutes to complete, but in some cases, physicians may wish to monitor their patients for 20-60 minutes before discharging them. The patient may resume their normal daily activities the following day.
Most patients experience pain relief 3-5 days after an epidural steroid injection, though some may experience relief sooner. Patients are typically restricted to three injections per year, in order to prevent bone weakening due to prolonged steroid exposure. Although some patients may need as many as three injections in order to experience the full benefit of the medicine, many patients feel significant relief after their first injection, and do not need additional treatments.