Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

When you have conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or even arthritis in your spine, you can experience intense pain or inflammation due to pinched or compressed nerves. A cervical epidural steroid injection is a non-surgical procedure that we perform at OrthoBethesda in Bethesda, Maryland. Once these injections are administered, they can relieve pain in your shoulders, neck and arms caused by inflamed or pinched nerves in your cervical spine.

When you visit one of our highly skilled surgeons, they can assess your condition and tell you more about steroid injections and other treatment options that we use to address spinal conditions and back pain.

What Is a Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection?

Cervical epidural steroid injections are a pain management procedure we use to help patients struggling with pinched or compressed nerves. Injections are made into the epidural space, which is the area surrounding the dura membrane. Inflammation can occur to nerves in the epidural space because of irritation from a damaged disc or contact with the bony structures of the spine. This issue can cause pain in the back, neck, arms and shoulders.

A cervical epidural steroid injection provides anti-inflammatory medication directly into the epidural space, decreasing inflammation to the nerve roots and reducing pain. Once inflammation is reduced, it may also potentially help the spinal injury to heal. Some patients find their pain permanently relieved, while others experience pain relief for several months.

Your Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

Before the treatment procedure begins, you'll be given an IV, which administers medication to help you relax. Patients usually sit in a chair positioned to allow their physician access to the steroid injection area. The procedure generally follows these steps:

  • The skin on the back of your neck is sterilized, and a small area is numbed.
  • Once the numbing medication has taken effect, your doctor directs a small needle using X-ray guidance into the epidural space.
  • The physician injects a small amount of contrast dye to ensure the needle is properly positioned before proceeding.
  • Medicine consisting of a small mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatories is injected into the epidural space.

After the Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection Procedure

During the week following your procedure, you'll be asked to keep a record of the relief you experience post-injection. Some physicians may suggest keeping a pain diary. A follow-up appointment may be needed for a repeat block injection. Injections are usually given in a series of three treatments about two weeks apart.

Although risks associated with cervical epidural steroid injections are rare, some potential side effects include:

  • Weakness or numbness in the hands or arms
  • Allergic reaction
  • Spinal headache
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Increased pain

Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection Effectiveness

Pain relief post-injection varies from person to person and depends on a variety of factors, including your body's chemistry and your activity level. Some patients experience pain relief lasting for several years. Others find that the effects of their cervical epidural steroid injection last only a short time.

During your follow-up appointments with your physician, be sure to discuss your response to the injections to determine if this is the best treatment option for you.

Learn About Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection at OrthoBethesda in Bethesda, MD

If you're experiencing pain in your neck, shoulders or elsewhere due to pinched or compressed spinal nerves, it's time to contact the skilled team at OrthoBethesda. We're here to provide our patients in Bethesda, Maryland a non-surgical treatment option to relieve their painful symptoms. If you'd like to learn more about cervical epidural steroid injections or other treatment options, you can call us at (301) 530-1010 to schedule your appointment.

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