What to Expect Before, During, and After Spinal Injections

For minor spinal injuries such as back strain, oral pain relievers and a brief period of rest may be all that is needed to address symptoms. In more serious cases, patients might consider undergoing spinal injections at a spine and pain center in Los Angeles. A spinal injection will deliver anti-inflammatory and numbing medications directly to the site of the injury to promote healing and bring rapid relief of your back pain. If your spine specialist determines that you could be a good candidate for spinal injections, he or she will let you know what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Spinal-Injections

Preparation

It’s important to provide your spine specialist with the full details of your medical history. Let him or her know if you’re taking any medications or supplements, particularly those that can thin the blood such as aspirin and St. John’s wort. Bring any imaging studies you’ve already had, such as X-rays or CT scans. If you haven’t yet had imaging scans performed, you may be asked to undergo some testing. You might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for a period of time prior to the injection. This is for your own safety. Arrange to have someone else drive you to the spine center and back home afterwards. If your health suddenly changes before your appointment, such as if you develop a cold or other illness, inform the spine specialist. He or she may need to reschedule your injection.

Procedure

When you arrive at the clinic, the doctor may place an intravenous line and monitoring equipment to keep track of your vital signs. You’ll be asked to lie on a table in a certain position. Your skin will be sterilized and numbed. Under live X-ray guidance, the doctor will place a needle in the epidural space before injecting the medicines.

Recovery

If you received a sedative, you’ll be asked not to drive for at least eight hours. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay with you for the rest of the day. You should plan on taking it easy for the remainder of the day, although you can generally expect to return to work the following day. If you experience pain at the injection site, you can apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel. It can take a few days or perhaps a week to experience the full benefits of the anti-inflammatory medications.

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