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What is a Neck Epidural?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A neck epidural is a treatment used to relieve pain in a person’s neck. This type of injection may also prove helpful for a person who is dealing with pain in his shoulders and the upper sections of his arms in addition to the neck. A neck epidural may be a good option when a doctor wants to deliver medication directly to the painful area of the patient’s body. To this end, a doctor injects medication directly into the space surrounding the membrane that covers the spinal cord and the nerve roots. The injection often includes a mixture of pain-relieving medications and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Though back pain may be a more frequent topic of discussion, neck pain is a common issue for many as well. Unfortunately, the neck is vulnerable to injuries and chronic conditions that may cause severe and persistent pain. For example, pinched nerves, disc degeneration, bone spurs, and a range of other conditions may lead to neck pain. Often, oral medications fail to effectively treat this type of pain, and massage and other pain control techniques may not relieve it. In such a case, doctors may suggest the administering of a neck epidural.

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A neck epidural involves the injection of medications called anesthetics and steroids into the patient’s body. These medications help reduce inflammation in the area and relieve the patient’s pain. Unlike many other pain relief injections, however, a neck epidural isn’t intended for a person’s bloodstream. With a neck epidural, the medication intended to provide pain and inflammation relief is injected into an area called the epidural space.

A patient’s spinal cord and the roots of the nerves of his neck are surrounded by a membrane that is referred to as the dura. In turn, an area called the epidural space surrounds the dura. It is through the epidural space that nerves send signals that affect a person’s neck and upper extremities. When doctors perform a neck epidural, they inject medication into this space to reduce inflammation and pain. Since this treatment directly affects the nerves that provide the sensation of pain, an epidural is usually effective for relieving pain symptoms.

In some cases, an epidural may provide indefinite relief from pain. Temporary relief of neck pain is more common, however. For example, a person who undergoes a neck epidural may enjoy pain relief for weeks or even months. Unfortunately, this treatment does not always prove effective.

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