I had a steroid injection into my neck for neck and arm pain. My neck pain went away, but I had a terrific headache for three days. How often does this happen?
Steroids can be injected into the epidural space of the neck. This is called dural puncture. The epidural space is inside the spinal canal but outside the spinal cord.
Headache after injection into the epidural space is called a spinal headache. There are no known reports for dural puncture in the cervical spine. Many reports for the low back area (lumbar spine) are available. Rates of spinal headache from lumbar puncture vary from as low as 7.5 percent to as high as 75 percent.
The first study of epidural steroid injection for the neck was recently published. Headache is the second most common problem with this procedure. In a group of 157 patients, 16 reported having a headache that went away within 24 hours.
Kenneth P. Botwin, MD, et al. Complications of Fluoroscopically Guided Interlaminar Cervical Epidural Injections. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. May 2003. Vol. 84. No. 5. Pp. 627-633.
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