Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

Cervical steroid injections provide temporary pain relief for those living with chronic neck or back pain. This minimally invasive outpatient procedure reduces inflammation around the spinal nerves and is a non-surgical procedure with a short rehabilitation period. 

At The Pain Experts of Arizonaepidural steroid injection patients are typically able to return to work the day after their injection. We encourage you to schedule a consultation to plan a path toward eliminating or reducing your pain.

What Is a Cervical Steroid Injection and How Does It Work?

A cervical steroid injection, also known as a cervical epidural steroid injection, is a minimally invasive procedure used to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with various spinal conditions affecting the neck. 

It works by suppressing the immune system’s response, which is how it reduces inflammation and swelling of nerve roots. This can help relieve pain, numbness, tingling, and other symptoms caused by nerve root irritation. 

This procedure is a common treatment option for those living with severe neck pain accompanied by pain, numbness, weakness, or altered sensations in the arms, shoulders, or scapula. It is also one of the most effective treatments for cervical radiculitis and other sources of chronic neck pain.

A healthcare professional injects into the epidural space in your spine. The epidural space is the area between the dura mater and the vertebral wall at the bottom of your spine. It contains fat, veins, arteries, spinal nerve roots, and lymphatics. Steroid injections into the epidural space can help relieve pain in your cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine, depending on where the healthcare professional injects the steroids.

What Conditions Do Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections Treat?

While they’re not a cure for underlying conditions, cervical steroid injections can be an effective part of your pain management strategy for conditions such as these:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Radiculitis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Spondylosis
Woman in car suffering from chronic neck pain

Benefits of Cervical Steroid Injections

Cervical steroid injections are a valuable treatment option for those experiencing pain and limited mobility, offering these benefits:

  • Pain relief
  • Regaining mobility in the cervical spine
  • Short recovery period compared to surgery
  • Minimally invasive with fewer risks
  • Potential delay of surgery
  • Improvement in overall function

Preparing for Your Injection

There are a few things your provider may ask you to do leading up to your injection, including the following:

  • They may ask you to change your medication schedule, especially if you take blood thinners or immunosuppressant medication. This can help reduce your risk of complications, such as infection. 
  • Inform them of any past issues with contrast dye, allergies to medications, or complications arising from anesthesia. 
  • Tell them about any medication you take, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, supplements, and prescription medication. 
  • Inform them of any medical conditions, even if you are still in the diagnosis process for one, and if you are or suspect you are pregnant. 
  • Provide your complete medical history to help your medical professional create an effective, educated decision regarding your treatment plan.
  • On the day of your procedure, your healthcare professional may tell you not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure. 
  • If you experience any cold or flu symptoms, contact your doctor, as you may need to reschedule your injection.

What to Expect During Treatment:

On the day of the treatment, here’s what you’ll experience: 

  • The entire epidural steroid injection process lasts approximately fifteen to thirty minutes. 
  • Your healthcare provider performing the procedure will ask you to lie on the table on your stomach or side before administering a local anesthetic to the skin surrounding your epidural space. 
  • You may receive anesthesia via an IV, depending on your pain tolerance. 
  • Using X-ray guidance and contrast dye, the medical professional will then insert the needle into the epidural space of the spinal canal before injecting the cortisone steroid solution.
  • After the procedure, you will remain in an observation room for about thirty minutes to an hour to ensure there are no immediate reactions to the medication.


Once discharged, you should rest for the remainder of the day. You can typically return to normal activities the next day, but your provider will give you specific instructions. You should have someone else drive you home.

You may notice increased back pain at the injection site over the next two to three days. This is completely normal and will dissipate within a few days. If the pain becomes unbearable, you can place an ice pack over the injection site or take over-the-counter pain relievers. You may feel numbness in your arms, but it will go away within a few hours.


The goal of epidural steroid injection is to provide sufficient short-term pain relief to allow you to begin or continue an exercise program. 

Studies have shown that up to 84% of patients receiving a cervical epidural steroid injection achieved at least partial pain relief. Some feel pain relief immediately following the procedure, while others’ relief begins about a week afterward. If you have not felt any pain relief or experienced a drastic increase in pain after two weeks, contact your medical professional.

If an injection improves your condition, you can receive another at a future date determined by your doctor. Strengthening exercises may also provide long-term pain relief by supporting and stabilizing your spine.

Why Choose The Pain Experts of Arizona?

At The Pain Experts of Arizona, your care is in the hands of our skilled team of board-certified physicians and experienced nurse practitioners. We provide the highest quality pain management, focusing on each patient's needs with compassion and respect. Our commitment is reflected in our use of advanced procedures and technologies – we aim to alleviate pain and improve our patients' overall quality of life.

By choosing The Pain Experts of Arizona, you are opting for a facility that values the importance of understanding various pain conditions. Our clinic’s emphasis on state-of-the-art care, plus our team's extensive expertise, ensures the best possible outcome from your treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will My Pain Relief Last?

The duration of the injection’s pain relief varies depending on the patient and the condition treated. Some report permanent pain relief, while others report only several weeks of pain relief. For some living with chronic pain in the middle of their spine, these injections may become part of their treatment regimen.

What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Epidural Steroid Injections?

While epidural steroid injections are generally safe procedures, there is always a risk associated with it. Your doctor will weigh the risks against the benefits to determine whether this procedure is right for you. If you have any concerns about the procedure’s risks, talk to your doctor.

Common side effects of steroid injections include:

  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Facial flushing
  • Insomnia
  • Lightheadedness
  • Mood swings
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain

At The Pain Experts of Arizona, our board-certified pain experts know the proper procedures to minimize these risks and improve your chances for a positive outcome. That’s why it’s important to choose highly trained experts for these delicate procedures. We’ll discuss the full list of risks with you in your consultation.

Does Insurance Cover the Injections?

Your medical insurance may pay for all or part of your steroid injections. Your doctor and medical team will help you with the needed paperwork to determine your eligibility for insurance benefits.

Schedule Your Consultation for Neck Injections at the Pain Experts of Arizona

Cervical epidural steroid injections should only be prescribed and administered by highly trained medical professionals. In many cases, these injections can be a powerful tool to treat severe and persistent neck pain.

Call 480-550-9393 to book your consultation. The Pain Experts of Arizona stand ready to help you resume the life you love!


Schedule an Appointment Today!

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