This injection relieves pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms caused by a pinched nerve (or nerves) in the cervical spine. Conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or radiculopathy can compress nerves, causing inflammation and pain. The medication injected helps decrease the swelling of nerves.
The procedure is performed with the patient lying down. Intravenous sedation may be administered, and a region of skin and tissue of the neck is numbed with a local anesthetic delivered through a small needle. Using x-ray guidance (also called fluoroscopy), the physician guides a larger needle to the painful area of the neck. The needle is inserted into the epidural space, which is the region through which spinal nerves travel. A combination of an anesthetic and cortisone steroid solution is injected into the epidural space. The steroid is an antiinflammatory medication that is absorbed by the inflamed nerves to decrease swelling and relieve pressure. The needle is removed and a small bandage is applied. The patient goes to a recovery room and is given food and drink and discharged with post treatment instructions. Some patients may need only one injection, but it may take two or three injections (administered two weeks apart) to provide significant pain relief.