Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections are a non-surgical option to ease pain in the neck, shoulder and upper body, all of which are susceptible to injury and degeneration. A variety of conditions can cause pinched nerves in the neck, which can spreads to the shoulders, arms and back. Cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injections deliver medication directly to the affected area, and can be used as a diagnostic tool and as a treatment method.
The injections are used to place local anesthetics and/or corticosteroids directly near the source of pain and inflammation. The medication is injected in the foramen (tunnel) that the nerve travels through from the spine to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In addition to relieving the pain from a pinched nerve, the procedure can also be used for ruptured (herniated) discs and spinal nerve root diseases. This type of steroid injection is also used for spinal stenosis, a condition that causes the spinal canal to narrow and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
A cervical transforaminal epidural steroid injection is a short outpatient procedure using a live X-ray image to insert and guide the needle to the tunnel of the affected nerve. After contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement, the medication solution is delivered, and the needle is removed. It is possible to experience relief with just one injection; however, repeated injections may be necessary.