This thread was going on the last forums, so I wanted to resurrect it here.
When I was first confronted with the idea of an Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) then a Facet Joint Injection (FJI), I was absolutely terrified! I read about the need for mild sedatives, IV sedation and even general anesthesia, the pain involved and the results of many individuals.
From my experiences- this is how I found ESIs and FJIs work in my Pain Management physician's office.
1) Approximately 30 minutes prior to your appointment, take the prescribed sedatives.
2) Stop taking all other medications the night before (unless your physician tells you it is ok- primarily this refers to blood thinners, aspirin, or anything that may increase the risk of the procedure).
3) Show up 15-20 minutes prior to your appointment so you can fill out paperwork.
4) They will take you in a standard room, take your vital signs, have you sign forms indicating you understand the risks of the ESI.
5) You will then be taken to the procedure room. It is typically like an X-Ray room because the use of Fluroscopy (live X-Ray) is used by most spine-injection physicians.
6) They have you lay down on your tummy on some pillows, and prep the area where you will be receiving the injection (alcohol swabs and Iodine are a popular combo). They hook you up to a BP machine and pulse-ox machine and ECG machine to monitor your vitals throughout the procedure.
7) The physician enters the room and explains the steps he will take.
8) The lidocain (local numbing agent- like they use in a dentists office) is injected and they give you a couple of minutes to allow it to set in.
9) The physician activates the fluroscope and begins to inject the steroids. My physician injects slowly because it creates a burning / cramping sensation in the nearby muscles and nerves.
10) After completion they make you sit around for 20 minutes to make sure you have no adverse reaction.
11) Go home (use a driver!), ice, relax and make sure to keep up on your pain meds.
Typically my pain decreases by about 50% and lasts anywhere from 1month to 4 months- depending on how much stress I have at work, and how much I rest after the procedure. These have been my experiences with both ESIs and FJIs.
Share your ESI and FJI stories in this thread- so readers can have an idea of your experiences and feelings about this procedure.