Cervical epidural steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure that decreases the pain primarily in the neck, arm, back and leg area through injecting anesthetic and steroid into the epidural space to reduce inflammation. The procedure relieves inflammation in the spinal nerves due to spinal stenosis or disc herniation by flushing away the proteins in the spinal nerves that causes the swelling.
The cervical epidural steroid injection includes both corticosteroid (e.g., triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone) and an anesthetic numbing agent with the guidance of fluoroscopy to make sure the needle is injected in the right direction. The injection is delivered into the area of the spine between the bony vertebra and the protective dural sac surrounding the spinal nerve.
Who Should Not Receive Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection?
The cervical epidural injection procedure should not be performed on patients with infection or with bleeding problems. Side effects may cause temporary elevation in blood sugar levels for diabetic patients, blood pressure and eye pressure for those with glaucoma.
Pregnant women, should notify the physician before undergoing treatment. Fluoroscopy x-rays may be harmful to the baby.
Anesthetic is first injected to the area to numb and lessen the discomfort through the whole procedure. Next is the insertion of the needle to the area closest to the painful nerve with the aid of x-ray fluoroscopy, this enables the physician to ensure that the needle is in the desired location. Discomfort occurs during the procedure but patients reported feeling pressure than pain.
The procedure usually last 15-45 minutes, followed by a recovery period. If the patient happens to have rods or screws from a previous surgery, the doctor will decide which step to take in order to produce the best result.
Patients are monitored for a short time but can usually can walk around right after the pain management medication. In rare cases, temporary leg weakness or numbness can occur; hence someone should accompany the patient and drive him/her home.
After the corticosteroid starts to take effect and the numbing medication wears off, patient may experience soreness in the injected area. Taking mild analgesic can relieve the discomfort. But if the symptoms persist after a couple of days, it is advised to record the levels of discomfort and report to the treating physician or pain management doctor for him to assess and address the concern.
Depending on the amount of inflammation, relief from pain can last from months, years, or even permanently given the addition of physical therapy and an excellent exercise program.
If you are looking for a cervical spine specialist in NJ, Dr. Ronak Patel can help you relieve the pain. For inquiries and more information about our cervical ESI treatment, contact our clinic today or schedule your appointment at (609) 269-4451.