Our goal at the Rutherford Regional Pain Clinic is to work with you and your physician in providing the best pain management possible. The key to the best pain management is communication and timely treatment. You play a vital role in helping us control your pain.
At the Pain Clinic we offer epidural steroid injections (ESI) to relieve pain in the neck, arms, back, and legs commonly caused by inflamed spinal nerves. There are several reasons this pain can flare up, including herniated disc, sciatica, bone spurs, thickening ligaments, or slipped vertebrae. ESI is used only when your pain has not improved with nonsurgical treatment like medicine or physical therapy.
Managing your pain
At Rutherford Regional Medical Center, we will ask you to describe your pain using a scale of 1 to 10 (1 means little or no pain, 10 means the most severe pain). You will also be asked to describe it: sharp, aching, dull, burning, constant shooting, on-and-off, pounding, etc.
Most pain is caused by damage to nerves or tissue. This can be due to surgery, injury, joint and muscle problems, effects of a tumor, and infection or invasive procedures. Some pain stems from medical conditions like diabetes, which can cause a condition called peripheral neuropathy
(pain in the back, face, hands or feet). Whatever the cause, proper pain management can
improve a person’s quality of life.
There are many treatments that can be used to control your pain. Your physician will choose the most appropriate type of treatment for your pain you are experiencing, your medical condition and the severity of your pain.
Medication is the most common and can include:
- Non-prescription pain relievers such as: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol, etc.
- Prescription pain relievers such as: Darvon, Percocet, Tylenol #3.
- Narcotics such as Morphine, Codeine, Demerol, etc.
All of these medications have side effects and must be taken as ordered by your physician. Other types of pain management include:
- Application of heat and cold
- Guided imagery, visualization, meditation
- Relaxation techniques
- Exercise Massage
- TENS units
If your doctor recommends an epidural steroid injection to manage your pain, the procedure will take place here in the Pain Clinic at the Outpatient and Surgery Center.
Pretest appointment interview: If this is your first epidural steroid injection or you have not had an ESI done in 6 months or more, you will need to schedule a pretest appointment 7 to 14 days prior to the injection date. In many instances, the ESI pretest appointment interview can be done by the Outpatient Department Nurse by telephone. If so, you will not need to come into the hospital for your ESI pretest appointment. The Outpatient Nurse will tell you if you DO NOT need to come in for our interview.
You will be asked about any previous back surgery. If you have not had an MRI or CT of the back in the past year, your attending physician will need to schedule the necessary MRI or CT before you can have the ESI done.
Medicine warning: Do not begin any new prescription or over-the-counter medicine without your physician's approval. You will need to bring a list of all your current medications to the Pretest Appointment Interview to give to the Outpatient Nurse or, if the Interview is done by telephone, you will need to have this list of medications readily available to tell the Outpatient Nurse when she calls. This list of medications need to include:
- All prescribed medications.
- All herbal medications.
- All over-the-counter medications.
For 7 days prior to the procedure, DO NOT take these medications:
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Coumadin (if taking, notify anesthesia)
For 24 hours prior to procedure DO NOT take these medications:
DO NOT take any diabetic medications the day of the procedure.
If you are taking any of the above medications that need to be withheld, you must contact your physician and let him/her know you need to withhold these medications. If withholding these medications is not okay with your physician, call the Outpatient Charge Nurse at 828-236-5310.
Day of your procedure
- If procedure is scheduled in the morning, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.
- If procedure is scheduled in the afternoon, do not eat solid food after midnight. You may have liquids up to 8 a.m. that day.
- You may take all of your morning medications with a small sip of water EXCEPT for those medications listed in the chart above.
- Bring someone with you who will be able to drive you home.
- Bring the report or x-ray films of CT/MRI if this was done at another hospital.
After your procedure
- It usually takes three (3) to seven (7) days to start relieving pain. In the meantime, you may be placed on a special diet. You may resume your regular medicine.
- Do not drive or resume your normal activity level until the day after your injection.
- Call your doctor if you have any questions or if any of the following occur within 72 hours (3 days) of leaving the hospital:
- Fever of 101 degrees or higher.
- Any new numbness or weakness that was not there before the injection.
- Any new bowel or bladder problems, such as inability to urinate or loss of bladder control.
- A persistent headache.
- Redness, drainage or pain at the puncture site.
If unable to contact your doctor and feel you have an emergency, go to the emergency room.