Purpose – To reduce neck pain, and pain, tingling, or numbness radiating into the arms.
Procedure Overview – There is a membrane covering the nerve roots in the spine called the dura. Nerves travel through the epidural space outside of the dura. The injection puts medication in the epidural space to reduce inflammation around the nerves.
Procedure Details – The patient is lying on their belly with the chin tucked. A fluoroscopy machine (x-ray) is used to view the spine, and needle. There are usually two pinches. The first is for the local anesthetic to numb the area, and the second is the injection needle. A contrast dye is injected to confirm location before the steroid solution is injected. There may be some moderate pressure on the skin during the injection. The injection itself takes about 5-10 minutes.
Before the Procedure – The patient should arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment to get prepared. This involves a blood pressure check, consent, and if needed application of a hospital gown. An antianxiety medication may be given if needed. The patient will need a driver to bring them to and from the visit. Blood thinners should be held from 5-7 days prior to the injection. This would include nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen), aspirin, Plavix, Effient, warfarin, and Pradaxa.
After the Procedure – The staff will check vitals, and ensure there are no ill effects before discharge home. If the area is sore then application of ice would be prudent for 20 minutes per hour until soreness is reduced. A small percentage of the time pain may increase for a few days before it gets better.