For certain types of neck pain, your doctor may suggest a cervical epidural injection. With this treatment, medication is injected into your neck near your spine. The injection helps the doctor find the source of your pain. It can also help relieve your pain and soreness.
If a nerve problem is causing neck pain, a cervical epidural injection may help you.
To get ready for your treatment, do the following:
- At least a week before treatment, tell your doctor what medications you take (including aspirin). Ask whether you should stop taking any of them before treatment.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or allergic to any medications.
- Stop eating or drinking 8 hours before you check in for your injection, or as directed.
- If asked, bring x-rays, MRIs, or other tests with you on the day of your treatment.
Your Injection Experience
The injection is done in our office or a hospital or same day surgery center. We are affiliated with Glenridge surgicenter. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms, including a consent form. You may also be examined. You may be given an IV (intravenous) line for fluids and medications. Bring an adult with you who can drive you home after the procedure.
During the Procedure
To help you relax, medication may be given through the IV line. You will lie on an exam table on your stomach or side. Stay as still as you can and if you need to move then let the doctor know during your treatment:
- The skin over the injection site is cleaned with anticeptic solution. A local anesthetic (pain medication) numbs the skin.
- Fluoroscopy (x-ray imaging) may be used to help your doctor see where the injection needs to go. A contrast “dye” may be injected into the region to help obtain a better image. If you are allergic to contrast or Iodine or any seafood please tell your doctor before the procedure.
- The cervical epidural injection is given. It may contain a local anesthetic to numb the region, cortisone (steroid medications that reduce inflammation), or both.
- A fluoroscope may be used to help the doctor see your spine during the procedure.
Take it easy at home for the rest of the day after the injection, even if you feel good.
After the Procedure
Most often, you can go home in about an hour or less. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. When the anesthetic wears off, your neck may feel more sore than usual. This is normal. Rest and put ice on the area for 20 minutes a few times during the first day. The steroids most often begin to work in 3 to 4 days. Ask your doctor when it’s OK to return to your job.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have a fever over 101°F, nausea, severe headaches, increased arm weakness or numbness, problems swallowing, or a severe increase in pain after the procedure.
Risks and Complications
Risks and complications are rare, but can include:
- Spinal headaches
- Bleeding or fluid leakage in the spinal cord
- Nerve damage
Our clinicians will review the results and will then recommend you a proper plan. The epidural injection should be able to provide several weeks/months of relief from any pain or swelling in the concerned area.