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Spine Injections

What are spine injections?

Spinal injections are used to deliver a combination of local anaesthetic and steroid into or near the spine. The medicines temporarily reduce inflammation and swelling directly to the source of pain and are usually recommended for relief of back pain or sciatica (shooting pain down one or both of your legs), or to help relieve neck pain, which also effects shoulders and arms, usually caused by pinched or inflamed nerves. The effects of a successful spinal injection can last from a few weeks to several months.

What medications are injected?

  • Bupivacaine or marcaine – a slower acting and longer lasting local anaesthetic.
  • Cortisone – a strong long lasting anti-inflammatory steroid. It can take several days to work, but its effect can last for months.

Injection techniques used include:

  • EPIDURAL
    An epidural injection is delivered into the epidural space of the spine to provide pain relief caused by inflammation and swelling around the spinal cord. It is commonly used to treat sciatic pain down one or both legs.
  • NERVE ROOT BLOCK (PERIRADICULAR)
    A nerve block injection targets a specific nerve that is being compressed or pinched as it exits the spinal column. It is commonly used to treat pain radiating down an arm or leg.
  • FACET JOINTS
    Facet joints are small joints of the spine that provide stability and help guide motion. They can become painful as a result of arthritis, injury or mechanical stress. A steroid injection can help ease pain and stiffness by reducing inflammation.

Are there side effects after an injection?

You may experience soreness in the area after the injection. Numbness or tingling in the legs, arms, back and face may also be experienced, but should only last a few hours.

Try to avoid exercise and strenuous activities for approximately 24 hours, just so your body has time to relax after. Monitoring your pain and being aware of any symptoms that may suggest something is wrong is also important. A pain chart will be given, which will aid in monitoring the pain.

If you notice persistent pain, numbness, redness or swelling at the injection site or if you have a fever longer than 24 hours, please call your doctor.

Things to be aware of

Blood thinning medication will need to be stopped before your spine injection. The receptionist will let you know which medication needs to be stopped and for how long. Please make sure you check with your GP or specialist BEFORE stopping any medications.

A consent form must be completed and signed before beginning. This includes all the information relevant to the procedure and risks, so please read carefully before signing.

If you are having an EPIDURAL or PERIRADICULAR nerve injection, you are not allowed to drive for the rest of the day and therefore you need to organise for someone to drive you home afterwards. Please be careful when standing up and walking for the remainder of the day, as your legs may give way on you resulting in a fall.

If you have any questions regarding charges or would like to know more information, please contact our friendly staff on admin@wollongongdiagnostics.com.au or corrimal@wollongongdiagnostics.com.au or call us on (02) 4249 2710.