Prior to being given the injection, the patient will either lie face down or face up to leave the neck exposed. Patients are sedated for the procedure but remain awake throughout. The procedure area is then numbed in a specific region of tissue and skin using a local anesthetic, which doctors administer using a small needle.
The physician inserts the needle in the area known as the neural foramen space, through which nerves travel along the spine. To help ensure the needle is properly positioned, physicians inject contrast dye to make irritated nerves more visible.
After the medicine is injected into the foramen space, which usually takes several minutes, the needle is removed and physicians apply a small bandage to the injection area. While some patients will only require a single injection, others may need as many as two or three for sufficient pain relief.