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How do I prepare for a spinal injection?

A spinal injection is an outpatient procedure. Before your injection, you will be asked questions about your health and given instructions on how to prepare for the procedure, for example:
  • Provide a list of the medicines you take, including blood thinners, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, and over-the-counter and herbal medicines and supplements.
  • Provide a list of any allergies you may have to medicines, latex or contrast dye.
  • It is a good idea to arrive at your appointment with some of your usual pain present. This will make it easier to tell if the injection blocked your pain. This is why spinal injections are sometimes called blocks.
  • Have someone available to drive you home.
  • It may be necessary not to eat or drink for six hours before the procedure -- check with your healthcare provider. If you are taking medicine for diabetes, tell your doctor. Your medicine may have to be adjusted both before and after the injection.
  • Bring any x-ray films and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans with you on the day of the procedure.
  • If your health changes -- if there is the possibility that you have a cold, flu or other illness -- it is important that you tell your healthcare provider. He or she may want to reschedule the procedure.
  • If you need to cancel your procedure, please notify your doctor as soon as you know.
These are things you can do to make your spinal injection procedure go better:
  • Bring any x-ray films, magnetic resonance images (MRIs), or computed tomography (CT) scans with you to your appointment.
  • Bring a list of all your current medications. Be sure to include everything, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins. And tell your health care providers if you have allergies to any medications. You may be asked to stop taking certain blood thinners such as Plavix and Coumadin before the procedure. Always check with your health care providers before stopping any medications.
  • If the purpose of your injection is to diagnose, do not take your pain medication. Arrive at your appointment feeling your usual amount of pain. This will make it easier to tell if the injection relieved your pain.
  • Ask your health care providers about food and drink. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for four to eight hours before the procedure.
  • Tell your health care providers if you are ill or pregnant. If you have a cold, flu, or other illness the day of the procedure, or if there is any chance you may be pregnant, be sure to tell your health care providers.
  • Wear loose clothing. Wear clothing that won't rub against the site of the injection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.