When to Consider an Epidural Injection for Chronic Neck Pain

May 04, 2023
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For such a small area, neck pain can have a significant impact on your life. An epidural injection may be just the solution you're looking for. Keep reading to learn more.

Driving your car, working at a desk, sleeping — these are just a few daily activities that can be hampered by neck pain. If you’re struggling with ongoing neck pain, you’re not alone — about 80% of Americans deal with neck pain at least once in their lives, and 20-50% deal with neck pain annually.

While it might seem like there’s no good news associated with chronic neck pain, we want you to know there are treatment options that can restore pain-free movement in your neck. Here at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, Dr. Peter Fernandez and Dr. Amanda Fernandez specialize in neck pain, and one of our frontline treatments is epidural injections.

Here’s a look at when you should consider epidural injections for chronic neck pain.

Behind the pain in your neck

Many issues can lead to neck pain, but we’re going to focus on those involving your cervical spine.

Your cervical spine is made up of seven small vertebrae separated by six cervical discs that act as shock absorbers between the bones. Several degenerative conditions can affect these structures, including:

When you have a degenerative condition in your neck, the result is often compression of one of the eight pairs of cervical nerves that exit your spine at each vertebral level. The compression can lead to neck pain and symptoms that radiate into one of your arms or hands, a condition known as radiculopathy.

Epidural injections — a step toward pain-free movement

If you have a degenerative condition causing chronic neck pain, our first goal is to make you more comfortable, which we can accomplish with an epidural injection.

All along your spine is an area called the epidural space, which surrounds your spinal cord. More specifically, the epidural space is located between the membrane that surrounds your spinal cord — your dura mater — and the vertebral wall. The cervical nerve roots we discussed earlier pass through this space, which is filled with fat and small blood vessels.

Once we identify which nerve root(s) are responsible for your discomfort, we inject a local anesthetic and a steroid into the epidural space where the target nerve is located. The injection relieves your neck pain and reduces the swelling pressing on the nerve.

After we administer the epidural injection, you're free to return home, and you should experience gradual relief over the following days. The relief can last anywhere from weeks to months and sometimes a year or more, depending on how your body responds.

We recommend using this respite from your pain wisely and taking steps to strengthen your neck through physical therapy to avoid more neck pain in the future. 

If you’d like to learn more about your neck pain options and whether a cervical epidural injection is right for you, please schedule an appointment at our office in Sarasota, Florida. You can call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking tool.