Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections involve injecting a steroid into the epidural space of the cervical spinal canal where irritated nerve roots are located. The injected medications include both a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic (Lidocaine, Bupivacaine).
The steroid reduces inflammation and irritation, while the anesthetic interrupts the pain-spasm cycle and nociceptor transmission (Boswell 2007). The medicines spread to the most painful levels of the spine, reducing inflammation and irritation. The entire procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes.
High dosages of oral corticosteroids taken daily for prolonged periods of time can have serious systemic side effects including bone loss ( osteoporosis), increased risk of infections and diabetes and cataracts, thinning of skin, stretch marks, increased facial/body hair growth, acne, fluid retention, weight gain with redistribution of fat (fat deposits on back and face, thinning of limbs), muscle weakness, decreased resistance to infections, stomach ulcers, mood swings, insomnia, suppression of the body's own production of cortisol, etc.
Some side effects associated with spinal puncture include bruising, bleeding, infections, headaches, and blood clots. Cortisone side effects may cause weight gain, water retention, hot flashes, mood swings or insomnia, and elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Epidural steroid injections can provide diagnostic and therapeutic benefits. ESIs have been endorsed by the North American Spine Society and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Department of Health and Human Services. Discuss this procedure with your friendly and caring doctor at the Florida Spine Institute to determine whether it is the right treatment for you.