Preparation for the procedure
- Do not eat solid food for at least 6 hours prior to the procedure. It is alright to have clear liquids up until 2 hours prior to the procedure.
- Medications for other medical conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, etc…) can be taken with a small sip of water the morning of the procedure
- If you are on any blood thinners medication, it is critical that you inform the office staff and your pain management physician. Your blood thinner will have to be stopped prior to the procedure. The number of days required to stop your blood thinners prior to the procedure depends on the type of medication you are taking and may require your prescribing physician’s approval. Please make sure to show your blood thinner medications to your pain management physician and have further discussion.
- Do not take pain medication on the day prior to your procedure. If you are on opiate medications, please ask your pain physician the proper schedule you should take them.
- Diabetic medication will need to be adjusted the day of your procedure. Diabetics who use insulin must modify their insulin dose the day of the procedure because your blood sugar may be affected since you will not have eaten for at least six hours. You can direct any questions or concerns about this to your primary care doctor.
- Bring all your medications with you, so you can continue to take them as usual after the procedure. Do not discontinue any medications without consulting your primary medical doctor.
- You will need to inform the staff of any allergies to medications, x-ray dyes, seafood, shellfish, or latex.
- You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure if mild sedation medication is given by intravenous line. Also, driving or operating any heavy machinery should be avoided until the next day after the procedure.
You will be brought to the operating room and be placed in proper position. Your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen might need to be monitored if necessary for the procedure. The area that will be injected will be cleaned using sterile scrub and the skin and underlying tissue will be numbed using a local anesthetic. Your doctor will use X-ray or ultrasonography guidance to place the needle in the correct position. Once the needle placement is confirmed with imaging guidance, a small amount of local anesthestic and steroid will be injected.
After the procedure
You will be monitored in the recovery room for any possible side-effects.
- Avoid driving or operating any heavy machinery until the next day after the procedure.
- You can resume any medications and your regular diet after the procedure.
- You can resume regular daily activity but should avoid strenuous activity the day of the procedure.
- A shower may be taken but baths should be avoided on the day of the procedure.
- If any bandages are over the needle sites, they can be removed the evening after the procedure.
- Complications are rare with the most common being temporary increase in pain near the injection site. You may apply ice to the affected area on the day of the procedure. If the discomfort persists, apply moist heat to the area.
- Serious complications are very uncommon but may include bleeding, infection or nerve damage. If pain increases contact your pain doctor. If severe pain, fever, redness, or swelling near the injection site occurs, have someone take you to the nearest emergency room to be evaluated for possible procedure complications or infection.
Pain relief duration varies from person to person. For some, the procedure can relieve pain for weeks. For others, the relief can last years. Many can return to their normal activities.
Usually people need a series of injections to continue the pain relief. Sometimes it takes only one or two injections; sometimes might require more.
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