Neck pain can manifest in several different ways including upper back pain, shoulder pain, and arm pain. Pain that radiates from the neck to the shoulders or arms is also known as cervical radiculopathy. It can be caused by these conditions:
• Cervical Spinal Stenosis
• Degenerative Disc Disease
• Herniated Discs
Cervical radiculopathy can cause shooting pain down the arms, pins and needles in the shoulders, arms, and hands, or numbness and weakness. These symptoms can be treated by a cervical epidural steroid injection.
The cervical epidural steroid injection is comprised of saline and a steroid medication. The steroid medicine reduces inflammation and can provide long lasting relief. It can take 2-3 days up to a week to fully work. Contrast dye is used to ensure the medication is correctly administered into the epidural space.
Blood thinning medications must be held prior to the injection as directed by your doctor. You must bring a driver with you to the appointment.
The side effects are similar to that of all procedures and include: bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. The chance of this happening is very rare as the doctor uses both a c-arm fluoroscope machine to guide him and contrast dye to ensure he is in the correct location. Potential side effects to the steroid medication include high blood sugar, facial flushing, and difficulty falling asleep. This only lasts about a day.
Reduce procedural discomfort by applying ice for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours to reduce injection site swelling and irritation. NSAIDs and/or Tylenol are also recommended.