What is a Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection?

A cervical epidural steroid injection (CESI) is an injection of anti-inflammatory medicine (a steroid) into the epidural space in your neck.

The main goal of cervical epidural steroid injections is to help manage chronic pain caused by irritation and inflammation of the spinal nerve roots in your neck due to certain conditions or injuries. This type of chronic pain is called cervical radiculopathy, which can radiate down from your neck to your shoulders, arms and/or hands.

How does a CESI work?

Your spinal cord is a very important bundle of nerves that runs from your brain to your lower back. Sometimes, nerve roots that are attached to the neck region of your spinal cord can become pinched or inflamed. This can happen, for example, if you have a herniated disc. The inflamed nerves can cause pain, and the pain may radiate down your shoulder and/or arm.

During a CESI procedure, Dr. Manvar uses live X-Ray imaging to safely inject a steroid into the epidural space around your spinal cord. The steroid coats the irritated nerve(s) that are causing your pain and works to reduce swelling and pressure on the nerves. The steroid allows the nerve(s) time to heal and leads to pain relief in the neck and arms. 

What are CESIs used for?

Dr. Manvar performs CESIs to manage chronic neck pain and cervical radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy can cause the following symptoms, which can radiate down from your neck to your shoulder, arms and/or hands:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling

Many conditions can irritate your spinal nerve roots in your neck and cause cervical radiculopathy, including:

  • Cervical herniated disc: This is commonly a slipped, ruptured or bulging disc. It’s one of the most common causes of neck pain. Discs have soft, gel-like centers and a firmer outer layer. Over time, the outer layer weakens and can crack and the inner material may press on and pinch nearby spinal nerves.
  • Cervical degenerative disc disease: This happens when the cushioning in between the vertebrae in your neck begins to wear away. A degenerated disc could cause inflammation in your spinal nerve roots.
  • Cervical osteoarthritis (cervical spondylosis): This condition involves changes to the bones, disks and joints in your neck caused by the normal wear-and-tear of aging. Osteoarthritis causes narrowing of the spinal column, which can cause inflammation and irritation to the nerves.
  • Cervical spinal stenosis: This condition is the narrowing of one or more spaces within your cervical spine. Less space within your spine reduces the amount of space available for your spinal nerve roots. A tightened space can cause the nerves to become irritated or pinched, which can lead to neck pain.

How does a CESI help my Pain?

Approximately 40% to 84% of people who receive a cervical epidural steroid injection experience pain relief. Most often, a repeat injection provides even longer lasting relief to help avoid surgery and improve functionality. The goal of a CESI is to improve pain and quality of life to continue physical therapy or improve day to day function and activities for better quality of life. In many cases, CESIs provide effective long term relief for months or longer. One study revealed that people who had cervical interlaminar ESIs had pain relief for 12 to 24 months.

If you are experiencing cervical spine pain or radiculopathy, call our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Manvar at 704-317-1440!