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1.12.2008

Next Thursday at 9 am and, Yes, I Am Scared

The covering over the nerve roots in the spine is called the dura. The sleeve-like space surrounding the dura is called the epidural space. Nerves travel through the epidural space before they travel into your arms, chest or legs. The nerves leave the spine from small nerve holes. These nerves may become inflamed due to irritation from a damaged disc or from contact with a bone spur ... Inflammation of these nerves in the thoracic spine may cause pain in your mid-back, along your ribs, to your chest wall or abdomen...

An epidural injection places anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone) into the epidural space to reduce nerve inflammation, and hopefully reduce your symptoms. By stopping or limiting nerve inflammation we may promote healing, and speed up “mother nature”, thereby reducing your pain. Although not always helpful, epidural injections reduce pain and improve symptoms in most people within 3-7 days. They may provide permanent relief or provide a period of pain relief that will allow other treatments like physical therapy to be more effective ...

First, an IV is started so that you may be given medicine for relaxation if you so desire. (DARN RIGHT I DESIRE SEDATION) Next, while lying face down on a x-ray table your skin will be well cleansed with an antiseptic. The physician will numb a small area of skin over your spine where the epidural needle will be inserted. Next, the physician will use x-ray guidance to direct a small needle into the epidural space. There will be pressure felt with this part of the procedure. He will then inject contrast dye to confirm that the medicine spreads to the affected nerve(s) in the epidural space. After this, the physician will inject a combination of numbing medicine (anesthetic) and time released anti-inflammatory (cortisone).

You may have some partial numbness in your arms or legs from the anesthetic after the injection. This may last several hours but you will be able to function safely as long as you take precautions. You will report your remaining pain (if any) and also record the relief you experience over the next week in a “pain diary” which we will provide ...

You may notice an increase in your pain lasting for several days. This occurs after the numbing medicine wears off but before the cortisone has a chance to work. Ice will typically be more helpful than heat during this time. You may begin to notice an improvement in your pain 3-5 days after the injection. Improvements will generally occur within 10 days after the injection.

*all material (except for my editorial DARN RIGHT I DESIRE SEDATION) from the physician who will be performing the epidural injection.

7 Comments:

Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Hope it goes smoothly, M, and that it takes care of whatever problem you're having!

5:29 PM

 
Blogger mireille said...

thanks, R. Can't wait for it to be over. xoxo

6:12 PM

 
Blogger Doug said...

My ex had the same procedure. It went fine but for temporary acute crankiness. Jim might want a little sumpin sumpin too.

I'm sure it will all be fine, but it's always nice to send you a thought and Thursday works for me.

8:40 PM

 
Blogger ariel said...

I am with you. Hope you explained your spine what is going to happen and told it to behave!

1:56 AM

 
Blogger WinterWheat said...

I've had it done 3 times in 5 years, my friend. It's a life saver. The procedure itself sucks. Definitely get the sedation. You'll probably feel an electric ZING down one or both legs. It hurts more than usual for a few days after, thanks to extra fluid pressing on the area. But then things gradually start to get better, and within a few weeks you'll be on the road to recovery. Make sure to walk regularly afterward; since the disks have no blood supply of their own, you need that blood circulating around the area to wash away the bad stuff and facilitate healing. I was able to heal naturally all 3 times (herniated 3 disks!) with this procedure, so I didn't end up needing surgery. Bless you, honey -- you'll make it through with flying colors!

3:49 PM

 
Blogger Bela said...

I will think of you on Thursday, all day (in case I get the time difference wrong). I have no doubt it will be a complete success. Pain sucks.

5:00 PM

 
Blogger javajazz said...

now that i see your wonderfully detailed diagram, it vaguely brings back memories of these body parts that i studied when i learned some craniosacral therapy...which is what i wanted to suggest as a non invasive assistance to you at this time...a good practitioner knows how to "listen to" the rhythm of the wave of the spinal fluid and can help assist the body in self correcting some of your issues...it can be surprisingly effective...hope you feel better...

8:59 AM

 

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