Midtown Manhattan 36 W 44th St Ste 1416 New York, NY 10036

Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections in NYC

A cervical epidural injection or cortisone shot in the neck can make all the difference when you suffer from chronic neck pain. The debilitating effects of an injury or wear-and-tear condition impact your overall health, your moods, and your ability to perform effectively at work and in your chosen sport. Since the cervical epidural cortisone shot side effects are minimal and cervical epidural steroid injection recovery is so brief, it pays to talk to your pain specialist about the cortisone injection procedure.

Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection in NYCNeck pain can really slow you down and affect your day-to-day routines. Whether you’ve been in an accident and got a neck injury or suffer from a degenerative condition that’s damaged the discs in your neck, you need relief from that pain. Unchecked, it often leads to even worse referred to upper back pain.

A cervical epidural cortisone shot is aimed at your cervical spine, which encompasses the nerves, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments in your neck. Once your sports and pain medicine physician diagnoses the source of your discomfort, after he’s sure that you’re a suitable candidate for a cervical epidural cortisone injection, you can get the pain relief in the Midtown Manhattan office of the Sports and Pain Institute in NYC.

Reasons for a Cervical Epidural Cortisone Shot

While your neck may appear to be a fragile network of soft tissue and bones, it’s really quite sturdy. It has to be to support your head, which weighs an average of 10 to 11 pounds. And your neck’s in constant motion, even when you’re sleeping. If your work requires you to turn your head frequently or you play a sport that places pressure on your neck, such as football, martial arts, or gymnastics, you may be at a higher risk for developing neck pain.

Certain diseases and other conditions also lead to the need for steroidal cortisone injections shot that block pain. In addition to a sports injury that came from a collision to your head, you may develop neck pain from circumstances such as:
  • Sleeping wrong. An ineffective pillow that doesn’t properly support your head can lead to chronic neck pain.
  • Herniated disc. This can happen from an injury as well as from the natural course of aging that wears down the discs between your vertebrae.
  • Improper posture. Pain radiates from the tendons and ligaments in your neck after years of poor posture. And with the rising popularity of mobile devices, “text neck” is rapidly becoming a reason many young people in NYC seek help for neck pain. Holding a phone between your chin and neck is another odd position your neck doesn’t like.
  • Osteoarthritis. Bone spurs, inflammation and pinched nerves are common side effects of arthritis, all of which cause pain.
  • Repetitive motion. Sports such as swimming and dancing often require that you repeat the same head moves over and over, leading to neck pain, muscle spasms, and even shoulder pain.
  • Spinal stenosis. This condition usually is associated with radiating pain to your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Symptoms to Tell Your Doctor

Before you can even think about your cervical epidural steroid cortisone injection shot recovery, your top-rated pain management specialist relies on various tests and an explanation of your symptoms to make a clear diagnosis. Signs that you may need the pain relief of a cervical epidural include:

  • Stiffness and soreness that hasn’t responded to a couple weeks of rest and immobility
  • Pain that radiates down your arms
  • Sharp, shooting pain that strikes whether you’re moving or not
  • Persistent headaches that seem to radiate from your neck

An x-ray, myelogram, MRI, bone scan, or nerve conduction test helps our pain doctor at the pain management clinic properly diagnose your neck pain. You need an accurate diagnosis before your receive a cortisone shot for your back pain.

The Cortisone Injection Shot

Anti-inflammatory medication is the cortisone steroid that’s injected into your neck to relieve pain. In your doctor’s office, you’re positioned lying face down. An area above the site where the cortisone shot will go is anesthetized. Then, a larger needle is inserted into the epidural space by the nerve that’s irritated and causing your discomfort.

During a cervical epidural, your sports injury specialist relies on fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray to help him see exactly where to put the medicine. This guidance aids in preventing cervical epidural side effects. Although rare, cervical epidural cortisone shot side effects consist of:

  • Headaches
  • Flushing in your face
  • Anxiety
  • An increase in your pain level
  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Warmth at the injection site

Most side effects dissipate within a couple days. Your cervical epidural steroid cortisone shot recovery typically takes two to five days, after which the steroidal pain reliever continues to provide substantial pain relief for months. During your cervical epidural cortisone shot recovery, if you develop loss of feeling in your arms, fever or loss of bowel control, seek emergency care immediately.

I had a wonderful experience with Dr. Melepura this week. I appreciate that he took the time to explain the breakdown of exactly where and why my pain was happening, and helped me to better understand an issue that I’ve never experienced before. He also provided multiple solutions to help with my issue, including a cervical epidural steroid injection which significantly reduced my pain level almost right away. The office space is clean and relaxing, and the front desk staff is kind, welcoming, and very communicative. I was able to get an appointment quickly and had no wait time when I got to my appointment. Thank you all again!

Oceana Luna

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Epidural Injection?

An epidural steroid injection is an effective non-surgical treatment intended to treat pain in a particular region of your body, from your neck to your tailbone. The cervical epidural steroid injection is used to relieve neck and upper back pain shooting to your arms caused by irritated and inflamed pinched nerves.
The procedure involves injecting a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) and steroid medication into the epidural space through which the inflamed nerves travel. The epidural space is the space located outside the outermost layer enveloping your spine.

How Does an Epidural Work?

An epidural works by alleviating inflammation (swelling) of the nerve roots as they exit your spine. These nerves go through the epidural space to your neck and into the arms. Inflammation of these nerve roots can be caused by a herniated disc or narrowing of the areas within your spine.
Steroids are anti-inflammatory agents. By delivering an anti-inflammatory medication directly into the epidural space, the epidural injection reduces the inflammation of the nerve roots.

Where Is the Epidural Performed?

The epidural steroid injection is performed in the office in our X-ray room.

Where Is the Epidural Injection Site?

A thin, flexible needle is inserted through your neck, slightly off the midline, to reach the epidural space, which contains the inflamed and irritated nerve roots.

What Conditions Do Epidural Injections Treat?

An epidural shot can be used to treat several conditions that cause neck or arm pain due to nerve irritation. The common conditions that epidural injections treat are disc herniation, cervical stenosis, and facet joint arthritis. Cervical disc herniation is when the inner, jelly-like core of your disc forces through the outer ring into the spinal canal. This may be compressing your spine and nerves, which triggers nerve root pain spreading down your arms (known as radicular pain). Cervical spinal stenosis is a narrowing of your spinal canal (that contains the nerve roots and spinal cord) in the cervical (neck) area. It gives rise to pain in your neck, or it can cause weakness, pain, and tingling in your arms, especially when you are looking down for long periods. Facet joint arthritis is when your small joints between two spinal bones (facet joint) develop inflammation, causing neck pain that can run down to your arms.

How Is Epidural Injection Done?

We use a specialized X-ray (called fluoroscopy) with a special laser to guide the needle into the right spot. You will lie on an x-ray table on your stomach. After thoroughly cleaning, a local anesthetic is first used to numb the targeted site. The site is targeted by lasers, which we use throughout the procedure to guide the needle to precisely where it needs to be. A needle is then inserted into the epidural space with the aid of x-ray fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy directs the needle to reach the targeted spot by enabling the doctor to view and adjust the position of the needle in real-time on an x-ray monitor. Once the needle is in the proper place as seen on the monitor, contrast (dye) is injected to verify the needle location and guide the steroid to the desired site. The steroid is then slowly injected along with the anesthetic to help minimize swelling around nerve roots and relieve the pain. The needle is then finally removed. The whole procedure will occur from 5-6 minutes.

How Long Will I Be Here During My Procedure?

Following the procedure, we will monitor you for potential complications for about 15 to 20 minutes before being discharged.

Are Epidural Injections Safe?

Epidural steroid injections are generally considered a safe and effective treatment for back and leg pain, mid-back pain, or neck and arm pain. Serious adverse events are rare but could include bleeding, infection, or nerve damage. By using live fluoroscopy, laser guidance, and contrast dye to accurately place the needle in the epidural space, we greatly minimize these risks.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Some patients experience soreness in the treated area. This pain usually occurs when the local anesthesia wears off while the steroids have not started to take effect. You can manage this soreness by applying ice packs and taking a low dose of Tylenol. Rare complications include bleeding, infection, and headaches. Side effects to steroids are “Steroid flush” or transient flushing of the face and chest, raised blood sugars, sleep issues, menstrual problems in women, and water retention. These side effects are rare since we use a small amount of concentrated steroids. The side effects resolve within 2-3 days without any treatment.

Does an Epidural Cause Weight Gain?

Epidural injections do not cause weight gain. However, long-term use of high-dose steroids has widespread adverse effects on almost all your body systems, including body weight. This is why we limit the number of epidural steroid shots that a person can receive in a year.

What Is the Recovery Like After Getting Epidural?

Epidural steroid shots are successful in most patients with neck pain or arm pain. The steroid injection can take as long as 2-10 days to take effect. During this period, you may have slightly increased pain at the injection site until the steroid medication kicks in. You are asked to take it easy on the day of the procedure. You will be okay to resume all your normal activities on the following day.

What Can I Do After My Procedure?

After your discharge, it’s best to rest and relax for the rest of the day. If you have pain at the injection site, apply an ice pack to that area. You can resume all normal activities the next day.

Can I Shower After an Epidural Injection?

You may shower the same day. However, be sure to avoid soaking in a bathtub, using a hot tub or sauna, or go swimming, for at least two days after your procedure.

Are Epidural Injections Covered by Insurance Companies?

All insurances cover epidural injections. Especially if you have a lot of pain that has not been getting better with conservative treatment like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen), exercise therapy, and lifestyle changes.

How Often Can Epidural Steroid Injections Be Given?

An epidural steroid injection can be given 3-4 times per 12 month period. By optimizing the first epidural to be as effective as possible, we try to avoid repeating the injection. We only repeat the procedure if there is a need to, which will be discussed during your follow-up visit.

Do you have any questions about the cervical epidural injection cortisone shot we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Febin Melepura MD of a sports injury and pain management clinic in New York City? Please contact our office for a consultation with the top pain specialist in Midtown Manhattan.

Page Updated on Oct 26, 2022 by Dr. Melepura (Pain Management Doctor) of Sports Injury & Pain Management Clinic of New York Sports Injury & Pain Management Clinic of New York
36 W 44th St #1416
New York, NY 10036
(212) 621-7746
Sports Injury and Pain Management Doctor NYC - Febin Melepura, MD

Febin Melepura, MD is a top rated, best in class interventional pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New York City and the country. He is an award winning expert and contributor to a prominent media outlets.

Dr. Febin Melepura has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain and, among other accolades, has been named a “top pain management doctor in New York”, and one of “America’s Top Doctors™” for an advanced sports injury treatments.

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