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Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

Diseases For Which Injections May Help:

  • Cervical spinal stenosis
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Cervical discogenic pain
  • Cervical herniated nucleus pulposus
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Post laminectomy syndrome
  • Cervical degenerative disc disease

Reasons For Injection:

  • To treat pain in the neck, arms, and head
  • Pain comes from problems in the spine, the nerves traveling through the spine, or the cervical discs between the spinal vertebra bodies
  • Conservative measures such as ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, neuropathic medication, and physical therapy are tried first
  • Goal of injection is to reduce pain in the neck, arms, and head pain - it is also hoped you will have improvement in your ability to function
  • Sometimes these procedures help you to take less or no medication for your pain and avoid surgery

Description of Procedure:

  • Performed in a surgery center as an outpatient procedure at Moores Cancer Center
  • Check in 30 minutes before procedure; staff will answer any questions before procedure
  • Your back will be cleaned with antiseptic solution and an x-ray will identify spot for injection
  • Local anesthetic numbs the skin and a needle will be used to enter the epidural space
  • Small amount of x-ray contrast will be injected into the needle to confirm needle is in right place
  • Some patients feel pressure in the back or down their legs when medication is injection
  • A small Band-Aid will be applied to your back and you will be taken back to recovery
  • Discharge instructions will be reviewed and you will be able to go home as soon as you are ready
  • If your pain relief is greater than 50 percent in the recovery area, you will be given the option of scheduling a radiofrequency procedure or return visit to the clinic

Medications Used for the Injection:

  • Corticosteroids are injected, which decrease inflammation
  • Most often Dexamethasone or Betamethosone are the steroids used

Pre-op Instructions:

  • Suggested you have a driver
  • Review all your medication with us before the procedure
  • If you take medication that affect your ability to form a blood clot (anticoagulants, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox) a specific plan should be in place - consult with physician
  • All other medications should be taken as normal unless your physician tells you otherwise
  • If you have any questions about your medications, please call the pain clinic 858-657-6035

Post-op Instructions:

  • Take it easy day of injection and return back to normal activity the following day
  • You may return to physical therapy after the injection, but let your therapist know you have undergone procedure

Potential Side Effects and Risks:

  • Site of injection can be sore after
  • During first week pain may increase due to injection
  • Ice, heat, and gentle massage can help prevent and or treat pain
  • Sometimes pain relief from the steroids takes three to seven days to appear
  • Patients sometime complain of red rash, which will go away on its own without treatment
  • Patients who have diabetes can have an increase in their blood sugar due to the steroid and should pay close attention to their blood sugars
  • Other risks include nerve damage, infection, bleeding, nerve damage, bowel/bladder problems, and sexual dysfunctions
  • Please discuss any questions or concerns with your physician

Follow-up and Further Care:

  • After the procedure you will be given instructions on how and when to follow up
  • Either you will be scheduled for a radiofrequency procedure or you will be scheduled for a follow up at the pain clinic
  • If this is the first injection, you may be prescribed two or three repeat injections over the next two to three months based on your results
  • If you get longer relief and the pain is reduced, some patients can get up to four or five injections spaced out over a year

Contact Us

New Patients: 800-926-8273

Existing Patients: 858-657-6035


La Jolla
Perlman Medical Offices (Suite 2C)