Epidural Injections - Neck (Cervical Transforaminal Steroid Injection)
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Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are a non-surgical option to ease pain in the neck, shoulder and upper extremity. The neck is a vulnerable part of the spine and is susceptible to injury and degeneration. A variety of conditions can cause pinched nerves in the neck, which not only can cause pain in the neck, but pain that spreads to the shoulders and arms. Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections deliver medication directly to the affected area, and can be used as a diagnostic tool and as a treatment modality.
Your spinal cord is located within the protective spinal canal. The spinal cord extends from the brain and is a major part of your nervous system. The spinal cord does not fill the entire space in the spinal canal. Instead, the spinal cord is surrounded by the epidural space (cavity), which contains tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
Spinal nerves extending from the spinal cord travel out of openings or “tunnels” in the bones (foramina) to exchange nerve signals with your brain about specific parts of your body. The eight nerves at the cervical level control body functions and sensation for your head and neck, the muscles used for breathing (diaphragm), shoulder and upper arm muscles, and the muscles that control the wrists and hands.
Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are used to relieve pain from pinched nerves in the neck. Ruptured (herniated) discs and spinal nerve root diseases (radiculopathy) can contribute to pinched or compressed nerves. Another possible cause, spinal stenosis, is a condition that causes the spinal canal to narrow and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Your doctor will examine you and conduct tests to determine the cause of your neck pain. Imaging tests, lab tests, and nerve studies may be used to provide your doctor with more information. Your doctor will let you know if cervical transforaminal epidural injections are a treatment option for you.
Your doctor will use a live X-ray image (fluoroscopy) to carefully insert and guide the needle to the foramen “tunnel” of the affected nerve. A contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement. Next, the medication solution is delivered, and the needle is removed.
You will be monitored for several minutes before you can return home. Your doctor will instruct you on how to relieve temporary mild pain at the injection site. It is possible to experience relief with just one injection; however, repeated injections may be necessary.
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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.