It is almost impossible now days to avoid using a computer. With information and technology in rapid growth, it is reported by NPR that 68% of Americans use computers at work. Too much of anything, as we know, can be bad. Some use computers more than others, but most of us are typing on a daily basis. This can have some lasting effects that can develop into a painful condition for some. This condition is called Carpel Tunnel syndrome and it affects 3%-6% of Americans, which equates to millions of people in the US alone. This condition can be mild and not bother a person at all, but it can also be excruciatingly painful and debilitating. It can make even the simplest task like holding a pencil next to impossible because of the pain. You never really realize how much you use your wrist until each and every time you even move it, it is painful!
I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel in both of my wrists’, so success of this treatment was twice as important for me. I sincerely enjoy writing these posts for the BASIC Health Blog. Each day, I am empowered to discuss important spine, nerve and joint health topics, guide readers in a direction to educate and help provide information to those seeking help. Little did I know that one day, I would become the exact person I had been trying to guide for so long. Now, with different perspective, I would like to share my experience as a patient. Here is my step by step recount of a personal experience at BASIC Spine receiving a Median Nerve steroid injection for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel, in both wrists.
It was time for me to make a choice:
My life was turned upside down about two years ago after having my 3rd child. Within a week of giving birth I woke up in severe pain and could not move or even pick up my newborn daughter. I couldn’t even lift or hold a seven pound baby that was how bad it was. I lived that way for months and months as I thought that it was just the hormones causing my body to be all out of whack. Finally, after I could not take it anymore, I went to see my primary doctor who ran some blood tests. I got the diagnosis that I never wanted to get, as I had been in medical school and knew what this disease can and probably would do to me. We took swift action with various medicines and did so for about a year and a half. I was still in a lot pain no matter how many different medications I tried. Everything that I used to be able to do with my kids I could no longer do. It wasn’t just me living with this disease it was my children as well because of my inability to interact with them as a mother should. My rheumatoid arthritis was very aggressive and I needed to be aggressive too. It was time to take another approach to my pain and that is where I learned about the median nerve injection. I called BASIC Spine and set up an appointment and they got me in right away with no hesitation.
Before Median Nerve Injection:
I arrived at the office in Newport Beach, CA and was greeted by the staff, they were warm and friendly. I was taken into one of the patient exam rooms to await the pain management specialist. I was pleasantly surprised with the arrangement of the room, size and light reminder of my sanitary surroundings. When the doctor came in the room he spoke to me and explained my condition, provided me comfort in understanding my situation and exactly what he was going to do and what it would do for my pain. He told me that he would be injecting steroids and a local pain reliever by using the ultrasound machine to find the median nerve so that he can inject alongside it. From there, the steroid medication would flow down into the wrist joint thus, providing me with pain relief. The way he explained it made complete sense and it was extremely comforting to know how the entire process worked. It gave me a better understanding of how my condition affects my body. For those of you who are wondering how long it takes before you start to feel the pain relief, I was told that it would take up to three days for the medicine to fully fill the joint and be effective. The doctor showed me all of the items that he would be using and I was just as interested as he was eager to explain (sterile tools, ultrasound probe, syringe, medicine, gloves, and even what Band-Aid’s he would use in the end), and if you think about it, it actually makes you a lot more relaxed to know all that is going on. I was nervous beyond despair before I spoke to the doctor and this one on one care definitely helped me relax. Finally, I was prepped and cleaned for the procedure.
During Median Nerve Injection:
The first thing the doctor did was inject a local anesthetic to numb the area of the skin where he would soon perform the injection. The feeling after was a prolonged warm sensation, but nothing unmanageable. I would best compare the feeling to a game played as a child we called wrist twisting. When I was settled and confirmed comfortable, the doctor put the ultrasound probe on my wrist and began to navigate carefully in effort to find my median nerve. During this time, he provided a short lesson on the anatomy of my wrist while preparing the injection syringe. Ultrasound is necessary in this procedure as it gives you an accurate injection point so that you don’t puncture a nerve or vein in the process. This took all of about 30 seconds. Once the doctor found the correct area, he inserted the needed and maneuvered it around a little while still using the ultrasound probe. When he was sure he had the Median nerve in sight he injected the steroid medication very slowly. The entire process for me was fast and easy, I did not feel a thing. The only discomfort I felt during the entire procedure was the injection of the local pain reliever (Lidocaine) in my wrists and so I asked him not to provide a local in my other wrist. When he got to my other wrist, he did not use the Lidocaine per my request. It was very fast and pain free. This one took all of about 20 seconds to complete. Total time for both injections including prepping and cleaning was about 4-5 minutes. Not too bad for maximum pain relief and being able to function again. For me not being able to hold my little baby was just depressing and I was willing to try any measures to fix the problem. I was beginning to think the only relief I would find was in a surgical procedure. To my surprise, surgery is not always the only way to stop severe pain.
After Median Nerve Injection:
When he was all done he slapped a band-aid on and I sat up. He told me I needed to stand up and gently shake my wrists so that the medicine could flow into the joints. I was to do this for about 20 minutes or so and then occasionally throughout the night. As I was squeezing my hands and shaking my arms, my hands went completely numb and pretty much stayed that way for the rest of the evening. I have to report that this was rather comical as I have never lost feeling in my hands before. For me, this was a very satisfying feeling or lack thereof, with the hope that this injection was looking promising. Since he injected a local anesthetic in along with the steroid medication, it almost seemed like the pain was gone right after. He then explained to me that the local would wear off and I would probably be sore for a couple days and I should take it easy.
The Days Following the Median Nerve Injection Procedure
The Next Day:
I knew from speaking with the doctor before the procedure that it would take two to three days for the medicine to fully take effect; however, I felt almost complete pain relief in my left wrist. There was no swelling or stiffness at all. It was AMAZING to be able to use that wrist again! I honestly didn’t know what to expect as I was in so much pain before and had lost hope. My pain was at least a 10 on the pain scale every day and today in my left wrist it was a 0, yes, a 0. I could move, twist and bend my arm once again without cringing. My right wrist I knew would take a little more time as I am a right handed and the swelling and edema (internal fluid from swelling) was more severe on that side, but even that one, the pain level came down to a 7 which was a huge step for me.
I woke up and still had total relief in my left wrist and was starting to notice some more relief in my right wrist. From my previous 10, today I was at a 5 and it felt good. Hope for me was restored at this point and I couldn’t wait for day three. For those of you that have arthritis or carpal tunnel you know how ecstatic you would be to finally be rid of the spine cringing pain from even the simplest movements, especially in the morning when you tend to be stiffer.
Sure enough I woke up and had full pain relief in my right wrist. The steroids took all the swelling down and made the wrist functional again. It looks like a completely different arm, as it had just resembled a sausage, swollen beyond recognition just days before. Today, both of my wrists are now at a 0 on the pain scale.
Pain Relief, FINALLY!
When you are in excruciating pain on a daily basis, hope feels lost and you become desperate for normalcy and would go to any lengths to find pain relief. For me this was a perfect solution as I do not like to remedy my pain with different medications. I am more of a holistic person and began to think surgery was my only fate. This steroid injection and overall experience was a huge success for me. I would recommend this procedure to anyone suffering from carpal tunnel or any type of arthritis condition. Although not a surgical remedy, it has given me time to think clearly, pain free to search my best permanent solutions. In conclusion, I went from complete and utter pain at the top of the pain scale to no pain at all. By listening to the pain management doctors at BASIC Spine and allowing them to truly guide me, I have found a solution that has not only restored my movement, but my hope. I write these blogs to our readers each day with pep in my step that what we offer our readers and patients in education and treatments are for the BASIC freedom of pain free movement. I will be getting these injections every two months or how ever often they are needed because they are amazing and I hope you too find yourself with pain freedom like I have found. Call a pain management doctor in your area or at BASIC Spine of Newport Beach, CA. At BASIC Spine, injection procedures and experiences like mine happen on a regular basis and we can accommodate you any day of the week. Contact us at BASIC Spine today and get on the road to pain relief and joint function again 855-33-BASIC.