Monday, 13 January 2014

Steroid & anaesthetic injections in hips

I had steroid and anaesthetic injections in both hips just before Christmas to try and reduce the burning nerve pain I have down the outside of my legs, and to make it clearer whether the pain I have is coming from my hips or back (or both, and to make it clear what is coming from where.)

Before the procedure I was given very little information, and nothing I could find online was particularly clear or detailed. My main anxiety was down to this lack of information. I knew it was a common procedure with low complication rates, and that if it didn't help, it was unlikely to make things worse.

A friend's sister is having the same jab, but in a different place, and wanted a bit of info, so I sent the following as an email. It seemed sensible to put that here so maybe it will be useful for someone else, too.

The procedure was amazingly low discomfort - so much that I'd not worry about getting my back done, and am thinking of asking about that.

I went in early in the morning, it's counted as day surgery, but it's not done with any sedation or anything, just local anaesthetic where the injection will be done. I was allowed to eat & drink as normal beforehand.

I walked into the theatre & hopped on the table, they swabbed my hips with iodine stuff and stuck sterile drapes over my midriff, with just two holes where they needed to get to the skin. They did the anaesthetic injection which was a little stingy using a thin & not very long needle. They did a couple of jabs of anaesthetic each side, using the same syringe & needle for each. 

A portable x-ray machine had been wheeled in shortly after I lay on the table. They
 took a first image, and they popped the first big injection in - it was a spinal needle, so 4-5cm long or so, with a cannula around it. They took another image to check it was in the right place, then took the needle out leaving the cannula in place. Then they attached a syringe to the cannula and popped the steroid / anaesthetic mix in, checking after it was all in with another x ray.

These were lowish dose x-rays, so several in the same day isn't a problem,

At one point there was a dull pressure ache down my thigh, as the steroid went in, but the whole thing was far less painful than anything my body does to me.  Each side took about 5 minutes maximum. 

When they had finished, the peeling off of the sterile drape was the most painful part, as the adhesive part of the drape gave me a free waxing >_<

After this, I was wheeled up to recovery, then to the obs ward to have a cup of tea & biscuit, and show the nurse I could walk - which I could.

I had no increased pain at all, it was like the burning in my legs was switched off. This is a good response, and some increased pain for a couple of days can be experienced. As the local wore off, before the steroid kicked in my hips were a little grumpy, but less than they had been.

 I went to the shop I do odd shifts at for my shift straight from the hospital, sitting on  hard chair thee for about 4 hours with no more than my regular pain.

 Pain wise, it's been 2 months now and my thighs sometimes have a bit of soreness, my hips ache a bit, but it's dialled right down, and has let me get a lot more exercise. I feel like it might be starting to wear off, annoyingly, but I need to see how it goes. I've not needed my crutches since the jabs, and have been able to reduce my tramadol intake by 1/3.

Overall, it's a very straight forward procedure, and although unpleasant, is IME less unpleasant than dental work and a lot less sore than the pain of trapped nerves.

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