Cervical Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection
Pain from ‘pinched nerves’ can lead to a debilitating situation. It is no un trying to go about daily life when a pinched or compressed nerve causes problems lifting items, moving an arm, or turning your head. Sometimes these nerves can cause pain when there’s no movement which can drive you crazy. A cervical transforaminal steroid injection just might be the right choice for your pain.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
What people refer to as pinched nerve is technically named cervical radiculopathy. This is a compression of one of the nerves in the neck. This nerve exits the cervical spine and when compressed b y a herniated disc, bruise (swelling), fracture, or fluid collection, the results may be pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
These symptoms listed above usually become increased when there is movement in the neck, back, or arms. Pain can radiate down into one or both of the arms with much of the sensation pooled in the bicep area.
How are Pinched Nerves Diagnosed?
Before a doctor can recommend a cervical transforaminal steroid injection, he or she needs to find the root cause of your pain. Certain instances of such pain in the head and neck area can be relieved by the injection, but if the symptoms are caused by a totally unrelated injury or illness that is not located in the area treated by injection, you may experience no relief at all.
An exam will be conducted of the neck and arms. It may require a CT scan or MRI to be sure of the cause. Once the doctor has determined that a pinched nerve is the problem, they may suggest some treatments to attempt to heal the nerve.
Your doctor may recommend simple strategies you can use at home to help the nerve slip out of the spot it is ‘stuck’ in. When a nerve has slipped into a space between vertebrae to become ‘caught’ it can swell which keeps it from sliding out on its own.
Lying in bed on your back without a pillow is one way to relieve the pressure on the nerve. While the relief isn’t always instant, the reduced pressure may help the swelling of the nerve go down and then slip back into proper placement.
Other treatments may involve physical or occupational therapy. Pain relief treatments can help you deal with that pain while waiting for the nerve to not longer be compressed through natural healing or by other treatments your doctor prescribes. One method that has had great results for patients seeking relief is the cervical transforminal epidural steroid injection.
Epidural injections are when medication is injected into the epidural space of the spinal column. This space is where many nerve roots are found. By placing medication at the source of communication between the sit of pain and the brain, we can stop the pain.
An epidural may use a catheter so that more or less medication can be added during a session. These cervical injections are given in the cervical (neck/upper back) area. Unlike a spinal injection, epidurals can be given high up the spinal column, while a spinal injection (which is often confused with epidurals) must be given in the lower (lumbar region) back.
How It Is Given
When your injection is given, you’ll have a topical anesthetic to numb the injection site or injected to numb the entire area. An epidural injection can be uncomfortable which means we try to keep you as pain-free as possible during the procedure.
A long, thin needle is slid into the foraminal space near the root of the pinched nerve. The anesthetic is injected which then soothes that nerve providing instant relief. By placing the anesthetic in the foraminal space where the roots o all nerves are located, the relief can be instant and last for a long time. Sometimes patients never feel pain from that nerve again as the nerve ‘slips’ out of the pinched location before the pain relief wears off.