There are many reasons why someone might need a spinal injection. These injections are often used to diagnose and/or treat chronic conditions of the spine. A lot of people worry about receiving this type of injection because they don’t know what it entails or how to prepare for it. You may find that these 7 things will help you feel more prepared before your procedure:
Your doctor will first inject local anesthetic
To keep you comfortable during the procedure, local anesthetic is injected around the injection site. In most cases, Lidocaine is used. This will numb the area around the injection site.
Spinal injections are performed under x-ray guidance
Fluoroscopy is basically like an “x-ray” move that allows your spine specialist to view an area in detail and real time. This decreases the risk of complications since your specialist can see exactly where the medication is going. Before injecting the medication, however, a contrast dye will be injected to ensure the medication will flow to the desired area.
The needle can be inserted into the different places in your back
Not only will the location of your injection depend on the location of your symptoms, but it will also depend on the type of spinal injection being performed. There are different types of spinal injections such as epidural, facet joint, and sacroiliac joints. Epidural injections are placed in the epidural space, facet joint injections are placed inside the facet joint, and sacroiliac joint injections are placed in the sacroiliac joint.
Certain medical conditions can disqualify you
There are certain instances where a spinal injection may not be the best option for your health. New pain from trauma, cancer, or an infection, as well as spinal compression are two conditions that completely disqualify you from having a spinal injection. An allergy to the medications used can also disqualify you. There are also other medical conditions where the risks may outweigh the benefits. For example, individuals who are immunocompromised, have uncontrolled diabetes, or who have severe bleeding disorders.
You may need to stop certain medications
Like any other medical procedure, there are certain things you will need to do to prepare for your spinal injection appointment. One of these things is to stop taking certain medications anywhere from 6 hours to 10 days before your appointment. In many cases, blood thinners will need to be stopped. In some cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin may also need o be stopped.
Fasting may be necessary
There are varying guidelines on whether or not you will need to fast before your procedure. Fasting refers to abstaining from both food and drinks for a designated amount of time. In the case that you are being sedated, then fasting 8 hours before your procedure is absolutely necessary. When sedation is not being used, your spine specialist will let you know if fasting is necessary and how long before your appointment you will need to fast.
You will need a driver
For most spinal injections, you can expect to need a driver. In some cases, your driver may need to be present at the time of your appointment and will be asked to wait in the waiting room. After your injection, you should refrain from driving for at least the first 24 hours. The only exception to this rule is if you are having a trigger point injection.
In conclusion, you should know that there are a number of things to take into consideration before receiving a spinal injection. In order for your spine specialist to determine what type of procedure would be best suited for you, they’ll first examine your symptoms and medical history. This blog post has given you 7 tips that may help prepare for this appointment with your doctor but if anything still seems unclear or daunting, please let us know! Our team is here to partner with you in navigating through these complex steps towards recovery from chronic pain conditions.