Q.Should I take pain medication only when I have a lot of pain?
A. No, don’t wait until pain becomes severe to take pain medication. Pain is easier to control when it is mild. You should take your pain medication regularly, as prescribed.
Q. Can I just use over-the counter medication such as Ibuprofen to treat my pain?
A. Over the counter (OTC) pain medications are the first line of treatments offered to patients with pain. However, long term use of Ibuprofen may put you at risk for ulcers, kidney problems or liver disease. Other medications may have fewer side effects and in the long term may be more desirable
Q.What are the side effects of pain medication?
A. Most common are constipation, nausea, stomach ulcers, liver damage, excessive bleeding, decreased sex drive, confusion, and daytime sedation
Q. What are Pain injections or Interventional Pain Management procedures?
A. Pain injections are minor office procedures that allow pain physicians to deliver medication directly to the generator of your pain. Your pain generators may be located in the spinal column or peripheral nerves themselves. These injections are usually performed under the guidance of x-ray or ultrasound in our Operation theatres.
Q. Do I need to do anything special the day or night before my procedure?
A. Yes, you need to follow the following instructions
Clears (i.e. black coffee, apple juice) can be consumed up to 2 hours prior to your procedure and a light meal 6 hours prior.
Take your usual medications the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water with the exception of insulin or diabetic medications if you are a diabetic.
Stop taking all blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin) for at least 7 days prior to your procedure.
Do not smoke for 24 hours prior to your procedure.
Notify if you are pregnant or there is any change in your physical condition
Q.How long will my procedure take?
A. The length of interventional pain procedures vary. Simple epidurals take 5-10 minutes while more complicated procedures can take up to several hours.
Q.What kind of anesthesia will I receive?
A. Most interventional pain procedures can be performed with a very light form of intravenous sedation through intravenous line along with local anaesthesia at the given site of procedure
Q. How long will I stay in the hospital/surgery center?
A. The time you spend in the hospital or surgery center will vary depending upon the type of procedre performed, the type of anesthesia that was given, and your individual needs. Most patients are discharged within one hour of their procedure.
Q. What are the side effects of steroid? Could I gain weight with it?
A. Side effects of steroid use include weight gain, elevated blood sugar, poor wound healing, and osteoporosis. That is why your physician will limit the amount of steroid that you receive in a 6-12 month period and monitor you for these side effects during treatment with these medications
Q. Why can’t I drive or eat if I’m scheduled for a procedure?
A. Some procedures may require sedation that prevents you from safely eating or drinking. Also, some procedures may inhibit movement in parts of your body that would make it difficult or unsafe for you to drive. Since we cannot be sure how the treatment will affect you, we require you to follow instructions that will be provided
Q: When do injections start to work?
A: In the medicine that is injected, there is an anesthetic and steroid (usually lidocaine and betametasone). The anesthetic works almost immediately, and give a person a sense of numbness and weakness following the injection that can take a few hours to resolve. The steroid component takes 2-5 days to start to work so it is not uncommon that people have a return of symptoms before the steroid kicks in and reduces their pain.
Q. What are the risks of epidural injections?
A: They are infrequent but do include bleeding, infection, and potential nerve injury. More common temporary side effects include headaches, flushing of the face, gastrointestinal side effects, and even hiccups. Patients with diabetes may have a temporary increase in their blood sugar and this may need to be monitored and specially treated.
Q. What happens after my procedure?
A. You will be taken to the recovery room and monitored for a period of time before being discharged to home with postoperative instructions
Q: When I can resume normal activities after an injection?
A: It is usually recommended that for the first day after the injection, that a person restrict their activities to light lifting and walking. Usually after the 1st day, a person can resume normal activities.
Q.What are the most common complications of interventional pain procedures?
A. Most patients will not encounter problems after interventional pain procedures. As with any procedure, however, there are potential risks, including, but not limited to: reaction to anesthesia, infection, swelling, nerve damage, paralysis, headache, temporary nerve irritation, bleeding, epidural hematoma, epidural abscess, and procedure failure