This injection relieves pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms caused by a pinched nerve (or nerves) in the cervical spine. Conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis can compress nerves, causing inflammation and pain. The medication injected helps decrease the swelling of nerves.
The procedure is performed with the patient lying down. Intravenous sedation may be administered, and a region of skin and tissue of the neck is numbed with a local anesthetic delivered through a small needle.
Using x-ray guidance (also called fluoroscopy), the physician guides a larger needle to the painful area of the neck. The needle is inserted into the epidural space, which is the region through which spinal nerves travel.
Contrast Dye Injected
Contrast dye is injected into the space to make sure the needle is properly positioned near the irritated nerve or nerves.
A combination of an anesthetic and cortisone steroid solution is injected into the epidural space. The steroid is an anti-inflammatory medication. It is absorbed by the inflamed nerves to decrease swelling and relieve pressure. The needle is removed and a small bandage is applied.
End of Procedure
The patient goes to a recovery room and is given food and drink and discharged with post treatment instructions. Some patients may need only one injection, but it may take two or three injections (administered weeks apart) to provide significant pain relief.
This is an injection of numbing medicine. It bathes the medial branch nerves, which attach to the facet joints of your spine. These nerves hurt when facet joints are injured or diseased. The injection helps find the source of your pain. And it may relieve your pain for a brief time.
To begin, your doctor injects local anesthetic. This numbs your skin and tissue around the areas to be injected.
Inserting the needle
Next, your doctor guides a thin needle through the numbed tissue. A video x-ray device called a "fluoroscope" helps find your medial branch nerves. Contrast dye is injected to make sure the needle is in the right place.
Then, the doctor injects numbing medicine onto the nerves. The medicine temporarily numbs the nerves. If this area is the source of your pain, you'll feel immediate pain relief. More than one level of the spine may need to be injected.
End of procedure
When the procedure is finished, you'll be watched for a brief time. Then you can go home. You may feel pain relief for the next few hours. You may be asked to keep track of your pain level as the medicine wears off. If the block was successful, your doctor can recommend a procedure to provide long-lasting relief.
During this minimally-invasive procedure, the physician uses heat from radio waves to treat painful facet joints in your neck. This procedure is also called radiofrequency rhizotomy. It can treat pain that doesn't respond to medications or to physical therapy.
In preparation for the procedure, you lie on your stomach. You are given medicine to make you feel relaxed. The skin and tissue of your neck is numbed.
Inserting the Cannula
The physician inserts a tube called a "cannula." A video x-ray device called a "fluoroscope" helps guide the cannula to the medial branch nerves in your spine. These tiny nerves carry pain signals from your facet joints to your brain.
Treating the Nerves
The physician inserts an electrode through the cannula. A weak electric jolt is used to test its position. If the jolt recreates the pain but does not cause any other muscular effects, it is positioned correctly. Then the physician uses the electrode to heat the nerve. This disrupts its ability to transmit pain signals. Several nerves may be treated if necessary.
End of Procedure
When the procedure is complete, the electrode and cannula are removed. A small bandage is placed on your skin. You will be monitored for a brief time before you are allowed to go home. Your injection site may feel sore after the procedure, and you may still have neck pain. If the correct nerves were treated, you will gradually experience pain relief as you heal. This may take several weeks.
An occipital nerve block is an injection of a steroid or other medication around the greater and lesser occipital nerves that are located on the back of the head just above the neck area.