Epidural Steroid Injections

Understanding Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural Steroid Injections are a common treatment option for many forms of low back pain and leg pain. They have been used for low back problems for many years and are still an integral part of the non-surgical management of sciatica and low back pain. The goal of the injection is pain relief; at times the injection alone is sufficient to provide relief, but commonly an epidural steroid injection is used in combination with a comprehensive rehabilitation program to provide additional benefit.

What is it? An epidural steroid injection is a procedure to help relieve pain that originates in your neck or back. It provides pain relief by delivering a steroid (anti-inflammatory medication) into the spinal area. The steroid helps to decrease the inflammation that causes swelling and irritability of the spinal nerves. By decreasing the inflammation, the nerve returns to a more normal state, which should reduce the pain. It does not change the condition of the discs or surrounding structures. Although rare, the risks may include allergic reaction to the medication, spinal headache, nerve damage, bleeding and prolonged increased pain. 

How should I prepare? You will need a driver. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled injection time. Notify your provider if you are taking blood thinners, you have an allergy to contrast dye, there is a change you may be pregnant, or if you are taking antibiotics. 

What should I expect during the procedure? The injection is done by a physician under fluoroscopy (x-ray). You will be brought into the procedure room and lay on your stomach on a special table. If you are receiving oral or IV sedation, this will be administered prior to the procedure. Your skin will be cleaned at the injection site and a local anesthetic will be used to numb your skin. The fluroscope (x-ray machine)will be used to help visualize the needle as it is guided to the appropriate site. Then contrast dye is injected to ensure correct placement, followed by the steroid medication. You may feel a sensation of pressure or discomfort during the injection. An anesthetic may also be injected into the affected area with the steroid to provide temporary relief. After the injection, you will be moved into the recovery area, where you will be monitored for 15-20 minutes by a nurse. If you received IV sedation, you will need to stay for at least 1 hour to be monitored. You may experience temporary numbness or weakness in the legs, which is why you must have a driver. This should subside in 30-40 minutes.  

What happens after the procedure? We recommend that you take it easy for the remainder of the day. You may resume normal activities the next day. You may experience tenderness or aggravated symptoms for several days after the injection. You may use ice packs to help with this pain. Patients usually feel relief after a few days; however, it may take 10-14 days to take effect. You should follow-up with your TCPC provider 2 weeks after the injection, so that they can assess the injection’s effectiveness and determine the next step in your care. 

If you would like to learn more about your pain relief options,

call our experts at 952-841-2345. 

 

Spinal Cord Stimulation: Kevin’s Story

“There’s nothing small about small moments.”

Boston Scientific patient, Kevin, shares his story on how Spinal Cord Stimulation helped him regain his life. You don’t have to live in pain, Twin Cities Pain Clinic can help. Call 952-841-2345 to set up a consultation with our pain management experts. 

 

TCPC’s Providers Attend NAN’s Conference

Twin Cities Pain Clinic’s Providers Attend 2018 NANS Annual Meeting

Th North American Neuromodulation Society held it’s 21st annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NANS conference is the world’s largest meeting in the field of modulation! The 2018 meeting offered our providers the opportunity to network with other medical professionals in this specialty, state-of-the-art lectures, and to discover the newest upcoming advances in devices in the exhibit hall. According to neuromodulation.org, NANS has participants from more than 20 countries, making it the most premier meeting in the world to capture the latest advances in the science and practice of modulation. 

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The start of the New Year is a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes. After the holiday season, it may seem like a difficult task to get back on track with healthy eating. Changing your diet can be as simple as identifying which healthy foods will help fight inflammation, block pain signals and help heal underlying disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables alone will not alleviate your pain. Committing to a healthy lifestyle with less processed food and more fresh foods will keep you on track for a healthy year.  

Inflammation is the body’s healthy immune response to an injury including bacteria, viruses, fungi, external damage, or possibly to the body itself from over use and age as in arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. Inflammation can be painful, but may also cause redness and swelling. Eating healthy by including and reducing certain foods can help decrease inflammation naturally.

 

Foods to Fight Inflammation:  

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: fish (including salmon, tuna, sardine, anchovies, and other cold-water fish), nuts (pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds), olives or olive oil, flax seed or flax seed oils, eggs, enriched dairy foods
  • Fiber: lentils (beans, chickpeas), vegetables – multiple colors per day, 2-3 cups per meal (bell peppers, hot peppers, carrots, onions, broccoli), brown rice, quinoa
  • Fruits: cherries, berries (blueberries, raspberries), multiple colors per day
  • Seasonings: garlic, tumeric, rosemary, cinnamon, sage, thyme, mint
  • Sweets: honey (good substitute for sugar), chocolate ( 70% cocoa)
  • Drink: tea (white, green, oolong), coffee (in moderation)

Foods That Cause Inflammation – you should avoid these in your diet: 

  • Refined carbohydrates: white bread, white pastas, cereal, white rice
  • Fried foods: chicken, hamburgers
  • Sugar: table sugar, sodas, other sweetened drinks
  • Omega-6 oils: sunflower, corn, soybean
  • Meats: red meat, processed meat (bacon, sausage, canned meats, hotdogs, salami, beef jerky
  • Sodium: check food labels, many canned/processed foods have sodium added, limit adding table salt to foods. 

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a complex pain condition that affects an estimated five million Americans. Fibromyalgia can be one of the most difficult conditions for patients, it negatively impacts their quality of life and often makes the simplest tasks seem difficult. 

Patients with fibromyalgia have widespread pain with additional symptoms that commonly include fatigue, sleep problems and memory problems. Some patients also have depression, anxiety, headaches, digestive problems and pelvic pain. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed based on a physician’s physical exam findings and the symptoms that the patient reports. (1)

Fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose because the symptoms often mimic those of other medical conditions. In addition, each patient with fibromyalgia is different and has a unique constellation of symptoms that can vary. While we might use lab tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, all of these factors can make diagnosing this condition tricky for patients and physicians. (2)

For those with fibromyalgia, it is important to eat a healthy diet, exercise, get enough sleep and minimize stress. In addition, make sure to find a physician that you trust and that you can speak to openly and honestly. With fibromyalgia as with other medical conditions, teamwork is crucial and a healthy doctor-patient relationship is essential. Make sure you have a good support system, maintain a positive outlook and remember that it is possible to live a very full and productive life with fibromyalgia. 

Myth: Fibromyalgia is not real.

Reality: Fibromyalgia is recognized as a medical condition by well-known, expert groups like the national Institutes of health, American Medical Association, American College of Rheumatology, Food and Drug Administration, Social Security Administration and all major insurers. The American Pain Society has developed guidelines to help healthcare providers treat the condition. (2)

Myth: Fibromyalgia is caused by depression.

Reality: Fibromyalgia is not caused by depression. but fibromyalgia patients sometimes feel depressed. Talk to your provider about treatments that may help you. 

Myth: Fibromyalgia is a new and rare condition.

Reality: Fibromyalgia has been recognized by healthcare providers for a long time. Physicians wrote about “muscular rheumatism,” a condition involving fatigue, stiffness, aches, pains and sleep disturbances back in the 1800’s. The current term was coined in 1976. The American College of Rheumatology set out its diagnostic criteria in 1990. Fibromyalgia is one of this country’s most common types of chronic widespread pain. (1)

 

References:

  1. https://www.fmcpaware.org/aboutfibromyalgia.html
  2. https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Fibromyalgia
  3. http://www.fibrocenter.com/understanding-fibromyalgia
  4. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/understanding-fibromyalgia