- Neck pain
- Upper back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Arm pain
The cervical section of the spine has seven bones or vertebrae. Soft discs between these vertebrae hold them together, cushioning them and controlling motion. If a disc tears, chemicals inside may leak out causing an inflamed nerve root or even a disc bulge. Bone spurs can also press against nerve roots and cause pain.
Neck and/or upper back pain when you move your head may mean cervical disc and dural inflammation. If your pain travels down to your arm, you may have nerve root inflammation. Because tests such as MRIs may not show a torn or leaking disc, a thoracic epidural injection helps determine if disc or dural problems, or nerve root inflammation are causing your pain.
You will be monitored for 30 minutes following the injection, at which time you will be given your discharge instructions and be allowed to leave the clinic. You may notice immediate relief and numbness in your neck and arm for a few hours after the injection, which means the medication has reached the correct spot. It’s normal for your pain to return after this initial pain-free period and it may even worsen for a day or two. You may be able to return to work the following day, but always make sure to consult your physician.
The steroid will start working after a couple days, but can sometimes take up to a week. Relief varies from person to person and depends on the amount of inflammation involved. Sometimes this injection brings several months of pain relief and sometimes long-term relief is acquired.