Cervical Transforaminal Epidural Injections
Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are pain management tools used to hone in on specific nerves responsible for cervical spine pain and radiculopathy (radiating nerve pain) down the arm (s). During a transforaminal injection, steroids are injected directly into the neural foramen where nerves exit the spine. In comparison to interlaminar epidurals, transforaminal ESIs allow for highly targeted administration of an anti-inflammatory medication to inflamed nerve roots. Although getting cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection will not cure a disc problem, spinal stenosis, or spinal arthritis, it can provide significant relief by breaking the cycle of nerve root inflammation long enough for patients to begin a physical therapy regimen that could aid in long-term relief.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I a candidate for a cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection?
If you are suffering from neck pain that radiates into your shoulder blades and/or down the arms, a cervical transforaminal ESI may provide relief from your symptoms. Contact your doctor to discuss your pain management options and find out more about the efficacy of epidural steroid injections.
What should I expect during a lumbar transforaminal ESI?
Cervical transforaminal ESI procedures are performed while patients are awake but lightly sedated. You’ll be lying down for the duration of the procedure, which usually takes less than 15 minutes. A local anesthetic is given to help prevent discomfort, and the needle will be carefully guided into the side of the vertebra in the neural foramen. A contrast dye will be administered first to determine the flow of the medication upon injection. Then, the anti-inflammatory steroid medication is delivered to the nerve site, helping to reduce inflammation and pain.
What types of results can I expect from an epidural steroid injection?
Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are outpatient procedures, but you’ll need someone to drive you home after being sedated. There is not scarring as a result of these injections; and more than likely, you can return to work the day after your procedure. Depending on your results, your doctor may recommend additional epidural steroid injections in the following weeks. Your pain may subside for a few weeks, or you could achieve many months of relief.