Pain Clinic First Timer
March 3, 2011 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Pain Clinic: First Timer, what to expect...

I am scheduled to have an appointment with the pain clinic soon.
I will be having an injection in my spine and triggerpoint injections in my muscles.
My question is what should I expect?
Am I going to be sedated prior to the procedure?
Will I be able to go about my day after?
Should I be worried? (I'm not now)
If you have had something similar done has it helped you?
Thanks, anonymous for privacy from people who may be able to identify me who read ask/meta.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
the sedation may or may not happen and you should contact your doctor at the clinic to help answer that question. Same about your functionality after the injections.

Really, if you call the clinic and ask them your questions, they can answer it best for you.

A close family member of mine has had several shots into her back to no ill effect (and actually with much improved effect)
posted by royalsong at 11:58 AM on March 3, 2011

I had epidural steroid injections for a couple of herniated discs. There was a local or topical anesthetic before the procedure. The needle in my back was guided by x-rays and it was an odd sensation to feel it "below the skin". They injected contrast to ensure they were in the correct location then injected the corticosteroids. There was an intense feeling of pressure, not exactly painful but not entirely pleasant. I was stiff and sore for most of the rest of the day.

The medical team doing the procedure were excellent. They talked me through every step of the procedure and printed out an x-ray image of the needle in my spin, for posterity.

3 ESI procedures and some physical therapy helped me immensely. Do your PT exercise routines religiously. I firmly believe that strong core muscles and good body kinematics can prevent or mitigate many back injuries.
posted by KevCed at 12:06 PM on March 3, 2011

Seconding KevCed on the spinal injections. No general sedation, just a couple of shots of local anesthetic (like the novacaine when you get a filling, only with less intense needles). There will be two or three people in the room with you, one doctor (an anesthesiologist, in my case, so I felt like he really knew his stuff) and a nurse or two. One will be observing the procedure, one will be running the X-ray that guides the needle.

It's vaguely unpleasant when they actually inject the stuff. I can't really liken it to any other sensation I've ever experienced, except to say it gives you a great feeling of urgency to make it stop without actually feeling physically painful. The closest I can get to it is to call it 'pressure,' but a little less identifiable. Nothing that will overwhelm you into leaping off of the table, but definitely not something you'll enjoy. That sounds bizarre, but it's as close as I can get. The negative sensation lasts, at most, 20 seconds, and then it's just numb.

I was not able to operate normally the next day after either of my injections, but I was in pretty rough shape to start with. If you can schedule for a Friday so that there's no pressure to get up and have a normal day immediately afterwards, it's great. Two or three days later, I felt better than before the procedures, but it wasn't a panacea for me. Your mileage may vary.
posted by Mayor West at 12:36 PM on March 3, 2011

I haven't had a spinal injection, but I do get trigger point injections regularly. This might sound odd but I actually look forward to it :)

The injections I get are a mix of lidocaine and marcaine. There's a bit of a pinprick when the needle enters and then - nothing but instant pain relief.

Everybody reacts differently, but for me, I'm immediately really, really relaxed afterward. I don't have a long drive but if you do, you might consider having someone drive you the first time.
posted by chez shoes at 1:32 PM on March 3, 2011

I had an epidural steroid injection three weeks ago for a herniated disc that was causing severe sciatica.

It didn't work. Well, it worked for a few days, and then the pain started creeping back, but it was different. I think they moved the herniation and now it's pushing on a different part of the nerve, but that's my 100% untrained opinon.

I'll ditto what Mayor West said - it's a weird, unpleasant sensation. The radiologist who did my procedure said it wouldn't be as bad as the spinal block I had when I had a c-section, but it was actually worse. Some lightning-bolt like sensations down my leg, like chewing on tin foil.

Afterwards, I couldn't walk - my leg was all wobbly, even though I hadn't lost any sensation in it. Very weird feeling. My husband was there to drive me home.

Right now I'm in severe pain (which I'm debating forming into my own ask.mefi question) so maybe I'm just bitter that it didn't work. I hope you have better luck. The doctor did say it works in 60-70% of patients, and I really thought I'd fall into the good side of that. Ah well.
posted by pyjammy at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2011

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