Epidural steroid injections place steroid medication in a precise location around the nerve, relieving pain by reducing inflammation. These injections are preformed with IV sedation and on an out-patient basis.
The number of injections depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, the location and extent of the pain, how many areas are involved, and how long the pain has been present.
A series of 3 injections may be necessary for maximum effectiveness as they will "build on each other" and provide long term relief.
This treatment may reduce the future need for surgery with the best results achieved when diagnosed early and treated promptly.
Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
The patient lies on a special table, and after appropriate intravenous sedation is administered, the skin and deeper tissues are numbed with a dental needle and local anesthetic. The needle is then advanced under X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) until it reaches the epidural space in the vicinity of the nerve. Dye contrast is then injected to confirm proper placement in the exact area of the nerve. A steroid medication is injected, which acts as a potent anti-inflammatory medication. This will result in resolution of the inflammation and swelling of the nerve.
After the Injection
The patient is observed for about half an hour in the recovery room, where vitals are monitored, and then is discharged home. Dr. Sammarone recommends that if soreness and discomfort are present at the injection site, you can place a cold pack over the site for fifteen minutes every two hours for the first twelve hours. Then, after 24 hours, it is recommended to use a heating pad or a hot shower, allowing the water to be directed to the sore area.