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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cervical Epidural Injection....not as bad as you think!

Just the other day, I had my first cervical epidural injection for a bulging disc that is pushing on the nerve. I will be receiving 2 injections for this treatment. 2nd injection is to be done a week later. This bulging disc is causing neck pain, headaches, tingling down my right arm, fingers and muscle spasms. So, my pain management specialist suggested the injection.
I have to admit, I pulled the procedure up on YouTube. As a nurse, I love watching procedures on YouTube but this one was going to be performed on me. HOLY CRAP!! (Click here to see the video. Please take note, do not watch if you don't like the sight of needles!)
So, I went to my procedure. First off, you can not eat, drink or smoke after midnight. (Ok, I didn't think it through because my appointment was at 1 pm. Don't do that. Get a morning appointment lol) Certain medications that you are not allowed to take day of or week of the procedure (aspirin, aspirin containing products basically blood thinners and Beta-Blockers) The nurse will explain prior to coming to your appt.
After answering all the questions from the nurse ie...medication currently taking, allergies etc... and stripped down to a gown and underwear. Oh and the ever so sexy tread socks! She then placed an IV in my hand.
Wheeled back to the operating/procedure room. I then have to slide over to the procedure table. Lay on my stomach, pillows under my hips and pillow at my head which you tuck under your chin. The nurse then gave me a mixture of Versed and Fentanyl for a light but conscious sedation. I knew what was going on, I was really, really, really relaxed! (Too bad they don't give you a doggy bag of that stuff lol) As she injected the medication, this did burn a bit in my arm and I did have a yucky taste in my mouth but nothing that was severe. The doc then injects Lidocaine (numbing med like the dentist uses) to the area on my neck where he is going to do the epidural injection. Ok, this stings. Like a bee sting. But it goes away rather quickly. Pretty much from this point I couldn't feel what he was doing with the needles. I was comfortable. I was not afraid. The doc will take multiple pictures with a Fluoroscope (live x-ray...really cool!) to make sure the placement of the needle is correct. And that was it. It was all done and over with in less than 10 minutes.The nurses wheel you to recovery. I never wanted ice water so bad in my life lol I couldn't eat after midnight and here it was 4:30 in the afternoon. Pretty much if you drink and eat the peanut butter crackers ok, you can go home. I bet I wasn't in recovery for more than 1/2 hour. I did come home a slept for about 3 hours. I think that was a mixture of the meds, Fibro fatigue and coming down from the anxiety. But after I woke up, I was fine. Little pain at the injection site. I ate, drank...no big deal.
The next day, I was tired. That could be because of the Fibro Fatigue and the excitement from the procedure lol. I will say that I had stiffness, tenderness to the site of injection. Some muscle spasm and weird pain going down my right arm. This is all normal. The medication takes a few days for it to kick in. YOU WILL BE SORE FOR A FEW DAYS!
So, getting a Cervical Epidural Injection is really not that bad. I think the worst of it is sitting and waiting for the procedure to be done. Next week will be the 2nd injection! Whoohooo! lol Oh, and the appointment is in the morning!
I just wanted to share this with you because you don't have to be afraid. It really wasn't that bad. If you can handle trigger point injection to your joints, Cervical Epidural is a breeze!

Love to all!!
Jenn
**Be sure to check out the links that I have provided. Education is key!!**

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