The cervical spine is the part of your back that makes up the upper spine and neck. It contains vertebrae that have pockets of space, including the dura, a sack that embraces the nerve roots, cerebral spinal fluid, and the spinal cord itself. The epidural space surrounds the dura. The cervical nerves- those controlling the neck and shoulders, travel through this space on their way out into the body. If those nerves become inflamed or pressed, the pain and mobility challenges can be devastating.
How a Cervical Injection Works
When the nerves are pinched or irritated, either by inflammation in the cervical area, arthritis, a herniated disc or other conditions, the pain and numbness can radiate along any of the affected nerve pathways. By injecting medication directly into the affected area, doctors can treat inflammation and irritation at the source, and block pain from traveling along the pathways.
Cervical injections to block pain involve medications that block the nerves from carrying pain messages to the body. Many times, however, steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs are administered in order to reduce the pressure on the nerves and offer longer-lasting pain relief and restoration of mobility. The restored mobility allows you to engage in physical therapy and exercise routines to strengthen the musculature in the area and improve range of motion and mobility.
When twisting and turning to reach those difficult areas, be aware of how you’re moving. Avoid stretching and straining to reach to dust, lift, and move objects. Use a stool or step ladder to reach things that are high up, and when bending down, bend with the knees rather than leaning over. If possible, use tools like long-handled dusters to reach difficult spaces.
What to Expect
When you arrive for a cervical injection, you’ll be asked to lie down. The area to be injected will be numbed. The doctor will use a fluoroscope to guide the needle into the correct position before injecting the appropriate medication. The medication may take some time to fully take effect. You should have someone drive you to and from your appointment, and take it easy for the day following your injection. Your doctor will discuss your specific treatment plan with you and give you detailed instructions for your after care. If you’re suffering from chronic pain in your back, neck, shoulders, or hands, contact Trident Pain Center to discuss your options.