Cervical thoracic steroid injection, Southlake, TX regions are the upper and middle part of the spine. The neck region of the spine is known as the cervical spine. It contains 7 vertebrae known as the C1-C7 vertebrae. The thoracic regions contain 12 vertebrae known as the T1-T12 vertebrae. The thoracic vertebrae start from the last cervical vertebrae.
Nerve irritation in the cervical spine and thoracic spine can lead to pain and inflammation. When the spinal nerve is irritated from a damaged disc or from contact with a bone spur, the nerve can become inflamed due to the irritation.
You may feel pain in your neck, upper back, shoulder, arm, or at your mid-back. You may also feel numbness or tingling sensations.
A cervical thoracic epidural steroid injection involves the injection of steroids into the epidural space around cervical and thoracic spinal nerve roots to relieve pain. The injected steroids help to reduce inflammation of the nerve that is causing the pain. When the inflammation is reduced, the pain is relieved.
Steroid injections are used to temporarily relieve pain. They are not used to permanently stop the pain. For a more permanent pain relief, radiofrequency ablation is used.
Preparing for cervical thoracic epidural steroid injection treatment
Before undergoing an epidural injection treatment, your doctor will first make sure that you are an ideal candidate for the treatment.
If you are an ideal candidate for the treatment, your doctor will review your medical history and previous imaging scans.
You may need to stop taking blood-thinning medications several days before the treatment. If you are on any other medications, you need to let your doctor know about it. If you have any allergies, inform your doctor.
On the day of the treatment, come to the clinic with a family member or someone that will drive you back home after the treatment. This is because of the aftereffect of the steroids and anesthesia that will be used for the treatment.
How cervical thoracic epidural steroid injection is done
You will be asked to lie down on an x-ray table and the area where the needle will be given will be thoroughly cleaned. You will be given a local anesthetic at the area where the needle will be given to numb the area so that you don’t feel any discomfort.
You won’t be given a general anesthetic so that you can be awake all through the treatment to provide feedback about how you feel.
Your doctor will then direct a hollow needle through your skin and between the vertebrae into the cervical thoracic epidural space with the aid of an x-ray fluoroscope.
The fluoroscope is connected to a monitor with which the doctor views the direction of the needle. Your doctor will then direct the needle to the right position.
When the needle is in the right position, a contrast dye is then injected so that your doctor will clearly see the target nerves responsible for the pain. Your doctor will then inject the medication that contains corticosteroids and anesthetic into the area to numb the nerves.
The anesthetic helps to relieve pain while the corticosteroid is an anti-inflammatory drug that helps to reduce swelling. You may feel a tingling or pressure when the injection is administered into the nerves.
The treatment takes about 15-45 minutes to be completed.
After the treatment
After the treatment, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a short time. You may feel a temporary weakness or numbness in your legs.
You can go back home the same day but someone needs to drive you home due to the effect of the medication.
You may be given a pain diary to record your improvements and pain relief processes for a couple of weeks.
You may start to feel increased pain when the anesthesia begins to wear off before the corticosteroid starts to take effect. It usually takes between 2-7 days for the corticosteroid to take effect.
You need to go for periodic check-ups and follow-up appointments so that your doctor can monitor your improvement process.
The duration of pain relief may last for weeks or years depending on the patient and some other factors. Some patients may need to undergo more treatments to experience long-lasting pain relief.
Low long does the steroid injection last?
You will feel immediate pain relief from the local anesthesia. The effect of the anesthesia wears off in a few hours. The steroid starts to work in about 2-7 days and lasts much longer. You may feel increased pain when the anesthesia wears off before the steroid starts to work. You will feel longer-lasting pain relief when the steroids begin to work. The effect of the steroids can last for about 3 months or more.
Are there any risks or complications with the treatment?
An epidural injection is generally a safe procedure. However, just like every other medical procedure, there are some complications or issues that may arise.
Potential risks or complications include:
- Allergic reaction
- Spinal headache
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Elevated sugar level
- Mood swings
- Rare cases of nerve damage or paralysis.