It's 1:43 pm. I just got home from my first set of Transferaminal Injections in my lower back. My good friend Lori drove me home, and I am now sitting on a cold pack. Man, those injections are painful. This time was not as bad as the first ones I received last year, probably because I was in so much more pain the first time than I was this time.
Just like last time though, I never even seen what the Doctor looked like. Only saw his feet and heard his voice. I did ask the Doctor's assistant a few questions this time. My first question was if other's who had these done thought they were as painful as I do. He said everyone thinks they are painful, it is just to what degree their pain is. He said the more someone tightens up, the worse the pain. Said it is hard to relax though when you have needles in your back. So happy I don't have to think about going through this again for a few weeks. I understand why they require you to have a driver though. My left leg, foot, and toes are still numb. Not painful, just numb.
I am having this injections done because there is a small cyst on my L5 vertebra that is pinching my sciatic nerve. The pain from this was horrible when it first began last year. It got to the point where I was in constant pain and nothing would help. It was recommended by my neurologist to have this injections. I had my first sets of injections about the same time last year. I found amazing relief from them for 7 months, when they started to wear off in November last year. I am grateful to live during a time when this procedure is offered, and I am able to have it done. So what are Transferaminals?
A transforaminal injection is an injection of long acting steroid into the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve roots exits. This opening is known as a foramen. There is a small sleeve of the epidural space that extends out over the nerve root for a short distance. This epidural root sleeve is just outside the spinal canal. Sometimes these injections are referred to as root sleeve blocks, root blocks or transforaminal epidural blocks. These injections consist of a mixture of saline, local anesthetic and long acting steroid medication. The amount of medication actually injected is very small, rarely more than 1 or 2 milliliters. The actual injection takes 5 to 10 minutes.
My skin was numbed with a local anesthetic using very thin needles. This was painful too, but not as bad as the actual injection. It's hard to explain the pain. It is not a sharp pain, but more of a strong pressure that feels like a muscle cramp, but much worse.
I have read that some patients choose to receive intravenous sedation, while others have a local anesthetic. My Doctor does not offer either of these, so I try and mentally prepare myself right up to the time of the procedure. I just try to remind myself that a short time of pain comes long lasting relief. You can do it! Be Strong!