Neck & Spine Injections
Your doctor has determined that an injection of medications into your spine could be beneficial to you in managing your pain. There are multiple procedures that we do every day. Some of these may take just a few minutes to do once you are prepared for the doctor. Some of these could take an hour to do.
WHAT ARE THESE INJECTIONS USED FOR?
To decrease the pain in your back, hips, and legs, these methods used to inject cortisone, a very strong steroidal anti-inflammatory, or a local anesthetic into the spaces into your spine and hip joint areas.
- Cervical/Lumbar epidural injections
- Facet blocks
- Caudal blocks
- Intercostals blocks
- Stellate ganglion blocks
- Sacroiliac injections
A selective nerve root injection is a method used to inject cortisone and an anesthetic to “put the nerve to sleep/decrease inflammation of a specific nerve” and to identify the correct nerve which is causing your pain.
A medial branch block is a diagnostic procedure. It is used to locate and determine which levels are causing you the most pain. This is used as diagnostic information before a radiofrequency ablation is performed.
A discogram is a diagnostic process/procedure that will determine which disk in your back is causing your pain. After a discogram you may need to have a CT to further evaluate your back/neck.
Radiofrequency Ablation is a procedure where high frequency radio waves are used to generate heat and “burn a nerve”. This does not require a high level of heat so you might feel some warmth but not a burning sensation, or you may not feel anything at all. All nerves regenerate over time, so the results will not last forever, however, some patients experience pain relief for 6 months to a year.
These methods are performed under fluoroscopy, which helps your doctor see the different areas of your spine. This also helps your doctor in placement of the needles to the affected areas, and allows them to visualize how the medicine will flow.
Other injections include:
- Greater Trochanteric Bursa Injection
- Occipital Nerve Block
- Sympathetic Nerve Block
- Trigger Point Injection
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
For all these procedures there is a possible bleeding, infection, allergic reactions or possible nerve injury. Although we have not seen this happen, there are always risks.
NORNAL SIDE EFFECTS
You may experience hiccups, flushing of the face or increased hunger, increased pressure at the site of the injection. The possibility of a headache after an epidural injection is between 1 in 100. Most people do not experience the typical effects such as weight gain, hair loss, or abnormal hair growth from cortisone injections as those who take the cortisone pills.
Please inform us if you are taking any antibiotics or have currently finished any in the last 7 days
- Some injections may take 2-6 days before you have any pain relief because the effect of the cortisone is not immediate. For the first 1-2 days, there may be an increase in the pain until the cortisone takes effect.
- On the day of your Radiofrequency Ablation you must be alert and able to tell the doctor what kind of feelings you are having. On the day of Medial Branch Blocks you must be able to go home and be active. Medications that help you relax impair this process and may result in a less effective procedure.
- For a Medical Branch Block, if you take pain medications on an as needed basis, try not to take them on the day of your procedure if possible so we can see how well the procedure helps you. Pain medications can mask your pain. If you begin to feel pain, take your pain medication, but chart on your paper when your pain returns and what time you took your pain medicine. This will give us a good idea of how much relief you received.