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Understanding Cervical Epidural Injection

The injection is done in a hospital or surgery center. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms, including a consent form. You may also be examined. You may be given an IV for fluids and medicines.

Getting ready for the procedure

  • At least a week before the procedure, tell your healthcare provider what medicines you take, including over-the-counter pain medicines and blood thinners. Ask whether you should stop taking any of them before treatment.

  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or allergic to any medicines.

  • Stop eating or drinking 8 hours before you check in for your procedure.

  • If asked, bring X-rays, MRIs, or other tests with you to your procedure.

During the procedure

You will lie on an exam table on your belly. Stay as still as you can. During your procedure:

  • The skin over the injection site is cleaned. Pain medicine (anesthetic) is injected to numb the skin.

  • X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) may be used to guide your healthcare provider. A contrast dye will be used to help get a better image and confirm the optimal location.

  • The cervical epidural injection is given. It may contain a local anesthetic to numb the region, steroid medicines such as cortisone, or both.

After the procedure

Most often, you can go home in about an hour. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. When the anesthetic wears off, your neck may feel more sore than usual. This is normal. Take it easy for the rest of the day.

If you notice increased pain or injection site soreness, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. It can take 3-4 days before the effects of the steroids are noticed. Keep the injection area clean and dry. Don’t apply any ointments, creams, or patches over the injection site. Avoid soaking in a bathtub or pool for the first 48 hours. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your job.

Possible risks and complications

  • Spinal headache

  • Increased risk of spine fracture

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Worsening pain

  • Paralysis

  • Nerve damage

  • Allergic reaction

  • Increased blood sugar

  • Immune system suppression

  • Death

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Fever over 101.0°F (38.3 °C)

  • Chills

  • Nausea

  • Severe headaches

  • Problems swallowing

  • Severe increase in pain

  • Redness or drainage at the injection site

  • Weakness in your arms or legs

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 10/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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