A spinal injection is typically administered as just one part of a larger, more comprehensive pain treatment program. A complete treatment series almost always includes a sensible exercise program in order to maintain or improve spinal mobility (exercises for stretching) and stability (exercises for strengthening).
How a spinal injection is performed
Spinal injections are done under the guidance of a type of x-ray known as fluoroscopy to ensure correct placement in order to safely administer the medication to the patient. To do this correctly, a liquid dye is injected prior to giving the medication. This will show if the dye is flowing to the right location; and if not, the needle is simply repositioned and more dye is then injected into the spine until the proper flow is achieved. Therefore, the medication isn’t administered until the precise dye flow pattern is adequately achieved.
A spinal injection is typically administered using a local anesthetic for numbing purposes called Xylocaine, or lidocaine, and inserted into a certain area of your spine. Although lidocaine is a quick-acting drug, its effects usually wear off in just a few hours, which is why it’s generally used as a diagnostic tool instead of a long-term reliever for pain. Bupivacaine, or Marcaine, is also another kind of anesthetic used in a spinal injection. Even though its effects are slower to experience, it lasts much longer and offers the patient a greater degree of pain relief.
The powerful, anti-inflammatory steroid drug known as cortisone is frequently injected in addition to a local anesthetic in order to diminish inflammation in the target area. Overall, cortisone is a slow-releasing and long-term solution to give the patient the best potential outcome in terms of pain relief. However, cortisone generally doesn’t start working until many days later after the injection, although the effects often last for several months. At times, a narcotic drug like fentanyl or morphine is combined with cortisone and a local anesthetic in order to experience a substantial increase in pain relief.
What to expect
The most frequent side effect of a spinal injection is a temporary increase in pain over the first 2 or 3 days following the injection. Often, this happens due to the key substances that are injected into an area where inflammation already exists. This should not alarm you and your symptoms will continue to diminish with each passing day.
Dr. V. K. Puppala is located in Atlanta, GA and serves patients throughout the Metro area communities as well. He ensures that all his patients receive the best possible care and is very concerned about their overall well-being. Dr. Puppala uses a multi-modal approach by implementing a variety of effective pain management techniques. Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN today to set up an initial appointment.