Injections

Spinal Injections

An injection is a way of getting medicine or other fluids into the body by a method other than the digestive system. In the United States injections into the subcutaneous layer of skin or the muscle are often called "shots" and in UK English they are often referred to as "jabs."  The medication or other fluid is injected into the body using a syringe and a sharp hollow needle which pierces the skin and the tissues to the appropriate depth.

Several different problems in the spine result in "nerve pain." This is a sharp pain that travels along the pathway of a certain nerve or nerve root. The nerve root is the part of the nerve that exits the spine. An example of this is a sciatic pain. Nerve pain can often be relieved by an injection to help anesthetize or numb the nerve and to decrease the inflammation which is often the reason for the pain.

Other patients without nerve pain have generalized inflammation that causes chronic pain. Injections into the spine can successfully decrease the inflammation in most of these patients.

For example, if a patient has low back pain that runs down his leg, it might be caused by an inflamed disc. The swollen disc is pinching the nerve that travels down his leg. If the swelling and inflammation in the disc are reduced by an injection, with the help of physical therapy, the patient's pain might be relieved.

Types of Injections

There are two types of these injections:

- Epidural Injections: These injections are given on an out-patient basis; you will be able to return home on the same day. You will be given a local anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable but you will remain awake. The doctor uses an x-ray to ensure the correct placement of the needle and the procedure usually only takes 20 to 30 minutes. Your symptoms may get worse for a day or two following the epidural, but by the fifth day after the injection, you will notice the effect. The effects may be very brief, or they may last for several days or weeks. 

- Local Blocks:  These injections are also performed using a local anesthetic and they are an outpatient procedure. They can be used to diagnose a problem by blocking pain from one area in order to determine exactly which area of the spine is responsible for the pain. They can also be used to help decrease inflammation, which is often the cause of back pain.    

Sometimes repeated injections are necessary after some time has elapsed if the inflammation comes back. This is especially true when the underlying cause of the inflammation has not been treated, for example, obesity.

Patients who are receiving spinal injections can usually be given a sedative if needed to help make them more comfortable during the procedure.

Pre-Operative Advice

You will need to stop eating at midnight the night before your surgery and remain NPO (nothing by mouth) until after your surgery. Surgeons vary on how soon before surgery you should stop drinking water, so you will receive instructions about this and also about whether to take your morning medications.

- Please do not smoke on the day of your operation or procedure

- Please bathe or shower the morning of your surgery and do not apply makeup, lotions or powders. Be sure to remove any nail polish.

Post-Operative Advice

Following the procedure, you will stay in the recovery room for a short time. Then you will be transferred back to the outpatient surgery area or your room and be given something to eat and drink. You will stay at the hospital for a few hours to make sure your condition is stable.

After you have been sedated or given a light anesthetic, you will not be able to drive, so you will need someone to pick you up and take you home. It is also recommended that someone stay with you during the first 24 hours following your procedure. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids and eat lightly.

Other instructions after a spinal injection:

- Do not drive or operate heavy equipment

- Do not drink any alcohol

- Avoid making any significant decisions. Your thinking and logic skills may continue to be affected by the sedative you were given for 24 hours.

- Do not take any sleeping pills or medicine that makes you sleepy. For example, Benadryl.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers