Cervical Epidural Injection: Before Your Procedure

Skip to the navigation

What is cervical epidural injection?

Cervical vertebrae

A cervical epidural injection is a shot of medicine in your neck. It can help with pain, tingling, or numbness in your neck or down your arm.

The injection goes into the area around the spinal cord in your neck.

The steroid medicine in the shot may help reduce swelling and pain. Steroids don't always work. When they do, it can take a few days. So your injection may also include a numbing medicine. It works right away for a short time.

Some people get a series of these shots over weeks or months.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink for a certain amount of time before the procedure. Follow these instructions carefully.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
  • The procedure will take 5 to 15 minutes. You will go home about an hour later.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter S470 in the search box to learn more about "Cervical Epidural Injection: Before Your Procedure."