Yesterday, I went for the second time to have a cervical epidural. An epidural injection puts an anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space, the space between the dura membrane and the spine and nerve roots. This is done to decrease the inflammation of the nerve roots and decrease pain. Neck pain can travel to the shoulders and arms as well as upward to the head.
The epidural injection may provide a period of pain relief for several months while the injury/cause of pain is healing or even provide permanent relief in some cases.
During an epidural the physician directs a small needle, using x-ray guidance, into epidural space. A small amount of contrast (dye) is injected to insure the needle is properly positioned in the space. Then, a small mixture of numbing medicine (anesthetic) and anti-inflammatory (cortisone/steroid) is injected. These are sent to pre-targeted areas that have been determined by you and the anesthesiologist prior to the procedure.
My first procedure, performed in October 2010, provided relief of my neck and shoulder pain for a little more than eight weeks, it seemed to also decrease my incidents of migraine pain. I had been suffering nearly daily pain before the procedure and that was reduced to a few pain free weeks tapering (? or increasing up to less than three migraines that lasted 1 to 6 hours each). This was still a great time for me up until the start of February.
Does anyone else have experience with this type of injections? I would be interested in how well they performed for you.
The video below illustrates how the approximately 30 minute procedure is done. If you don't mind seeing the real thing with real needles check out the link below.