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alcohol drinking and epidurals

budicabudica Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 1:48 PM in Spinal Injections

I'm new to this forum. I've suffered from lower back pain for about a decade, and was diagnosed with a lumbar disk herniation (L5-S1) about a year ago. I have started to get some pain in one hip, but other than that and the medial lower back pain, I have no mobility or strength problems.

I have had three epidural injections since my diagnosis; they help a lot. I have one scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) afternoon, and I was just checking the patient instructions. In addition to avoiding blood thinning medications, I'm supposed to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for 5 days beforehand. I forgot about this and had a glass of wine with dinner.

I'd rather not reschedule my appointment. I was checking online to see what other doctors recommend, and drinking alcohol was not mentioned ONCE on any of the sites I saw. I also noticed that the period of time that they recommend patients avoid taking blood thinners was less than what my doctor recommends.

I further checked to see what the connection between alcohol and blood thinning (platelet formation) is, and when this effect would occur after drinking and how long it would last. I didn't look too hard, but I saw the results of the Framingham study, finding that participants in that study who were moderate drinkers had a lesser degree of platelet formation than those who did not. So it's not clear to me that the time period over which platelet formation would be affected has been well-established.

It seems to me that my doctor's pre-injection instructions are perhaps extremely stringent. Has anyone else noticed advice about drinking beforehand in their pre-injection instructions?


  • My doctor had no alcohol restrictions prior to an epidural.
  • My doctor had a alcohol restriction after the epidurals for one week following the procedure. The reason I was given by the nurse is that alcohol thins the blood and you want the medication to stay as long as possible at the injection site.
  • I've had several lumbar injections. Alcohol has never been mentioned. Common sense dictates that as long as you don't put down some shots of jack the morning of your procedure, you'll be fine. A glass of wine with dinner is certainly not going to be a problem. Taking blood thinners on the other hand (including ibuprofen) should be avoided. That said, I had an injection the day after taking prescription doses of ibuprofen, and was fine...just a little bruising around the injection site.
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