The atlanto-axial joint is at the top of the cervical vertebrae in the upper neck area. Problems within this joint may result in scalp tenderness, neck pain and headaches. They may be the result of an injury to either the cartilage in the joint or its surrounding tissues. A diagnostic axial injection may be performed to determine the cause of pain in the region.
The injection is a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroid. The anesthetic provides immediate relief from pain, while the corticosteroid works to decrease inflammation and offer longer-term pain reduction. If the axial injection is effective in relieving pain and increasing motion in the joint, it can be used as a treatment method.