Cervical Epidural Injection
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Reasons for Procedure
- Increase in pain
- Bleeding or fluid leakage in spinal canal
- Spinal headaches
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reaction to the medicine used (eg, hives, light-headedness, low blood pressure, wheezing)
- Not tried other conservative treatment
- Had success with conservative treatment
- Allergies to the local anesthetic, x-ray contrast, or medicines being used
- Local skin infection
- An infection (eg, flu )
- Bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medicine
- Pain that is due to infection or malignancy
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes
- Unstable angina or congestive heart failure
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Do a physical exam and ask you about your medical history
- Have tests done (eg, x-ray , MRI scan )
- Ask you about any allergies that you may have to the anesthetic, pain medicine, or latex
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, ibuprofen, naproxen)
- Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin
- Anti-platelet drugs, such as clopidogrel
- Your doctor may ask you to avoid food or drink a few hours before the procedure.
- You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
Description of Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
- Do not exert yourself on the first day. Talk to your doctor about any specific activity recommendations.
- To reduce soreness, apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes, a few times over the first day. Wrap the ice in a towel. Do not apply it directly to your skin.
- Take over-the-counter pain medicine as recommended by your doctor. The soreness should go away in a couple of days. Pain may return, though, when the anesthetic wears off. It may take a few days before the steroid medicine takes full effect.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions on cleaning the injection site.
- Avoid baths, pools, or whirlpools for 48 hours after the injection. It is usually safe to shower, though.
- Ask your doctor when you should return to work.
- If you have stopped any medicines before the procedure, ask your doctor when you can resume taking these again.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Severe pain or headache
- Fever or chills
- Increased arm weakness or numbness
- Problems swallowing
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the injection site
Cervical epidural. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health: Radiology Department website. Available at: https://www.radiology.wisc.edu/sections/msk/interventional/Cervical%20epidural/index.php. Accessed March 19, 2012.
Cervical epidural steroid injection. University of California San Diego website. Available at: http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/cppm/injections/Pages/cervical-epidural-steroid-injection.aspx. Accessed March 18, 2012.
Cervical radiculopathy: non-operative treatments and cervical epidural steroid injection. Hospital for Special Surgery website. Available at: http://www.hss.edu/conditions%5Fcervical-radiculopathy-nonoperative-treatments-epidural.asp. Accessed March 18, 2012.
Epidermal injections. American College of Radiology website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=epidural. Accessed March 18, 2012.
Spinal injections. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Center website. Available at: http://www.ric.org/conditions/sportsmed/SpinalInjections.aspx. Accessed March 19, 2012
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -