Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection (CESI) Series
A treatment for pain, a Cervical Epidural Steroid injection takes place in the upper neck and back region. Around 80% of people complain of back pain at some point in their lives. Physicians must determine the cause of backpain in order to prevent the pain from getting worse over time. Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections can alleviate pain and aid in the diagnoses of neck and upper back pain. Do not confuse Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections with Sympathetic Nerve Blocks, Radiofrequency Ablations, or Genicular Nerve Blocks.
Anatomy of the Cervical Spine
The cervical spine consists of 7 delicate vertebrae called c1-c7. The vertebrae encase the spinal cord which has branches stemming off from it called spinal nerves. Of the 31 pairs of spinal nerves, 8 of them branch from the cervical aspect of the spinal cord. Outside of the spinal cord, the epidural space houses the nerve roots. During a Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection, the epidural space gets injected with steroids and an anesthetic when a doctor suspects pinched or damaged nerves. When experiencing back or neck pain, patients should always get the area checked by a reputable physician due to the delicacy of the area.
The cervical spine stems from the skull down to the upper back right at shoulder level. The cervical spine protects the spinal cord which descends down the spine and ends right before the lumbar spine starts. The cervical spine also supports the head and facilitates blood flow to the brain.
Potential Candidates for Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
At AOA Orthopedic Specialists, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialists perform Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections. A PM&R specialist may administer a Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection for a variety of conditions including:
Performing an Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections
The patient cannot drive themselves to or from the hospital. With the patient’s back exposed, the doctor applies topical anesthesia or injects lidocaine to numb the area. The physicians uses fluoroscope to ensure the correct injection placement for the appropriate nerve roots. Before injecting the steroid, the physician injects contrast dye. Contrast dye allows the surgeon to see the precise needle placement. Injecting an anesthetic and steroid typically resolves all if not most of the pain. The anesthetic gets rid of the pain while the steroid decreases inflammation and takes pressure off of the nerve root.
An outpatient procedure, the patient can go home the same day. Patients typically feel immediate pain relief following the procedure. A physician can perform an Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection multiple times a year if the pain relief does not last long enough for the patient.