FAQ


Pain Management & Spine FAQ’s

What are my pain management treatment options?

The treatments for chronic pain are as varied as the causes. From physical therapy, medications, injections, and possible surgery, if one method doesn’t work, another one might. However, when treating chronic pain, no one technique is promised to provide complete pain relief. Each patient at AOK Spine and Pain will receive an individualized treatment plan created by Dr. Grover that may include a medley of pain relief options.

Will I Be Awake During the Procedure?

Throughout your 10-20 minute procedure you will receive an intravenous form of sedation known as a MAC. This will keep you relaxed and comfortable during your procedure and only require an approximate recovery time of 30 minutes before discharge.

What are some possible side effects of this procedure?

With very few risks, epidural steroid injections are considered an appropriate, non-surgical treatment for most patients. The potential risks include bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, spinal headache, nerve damage, or in extremely rare cases, paralysis. Mild muscle weakness or numbness, if any, typically resolves within 8 hours of the procedure. Patients that are currently being treated for rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic condition that cannot temporarily discontinue anti-clotting medications should immediately consult their personal physician for a complete risk assessment.

How long will I need to wait before returning to my normal activities?

Patients are not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours after their procedure due to the intravenous sedation received and possible side effects of the injection. Afterwards, you may return to your normal routine at your discretion.

How long will the pain relief from the injections last and is this a procedure I will need to undergo indefinitely?

As with any procedure, each patient and their reaction to treatment are different. Should the injection alone work for you the relief can last anywhere from several days to several years.

What types of medications are used in the injection?

To obtain the diagnostic data needed as well as optimal pain relief Dr. Grover injects a local anesthetic (numbing agent) as well as an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

If I choose to get injections, how many will I need?

Typically, an epidural steroid injection series includes three injections performed at least two weeks apart. The number of injections each patient receives depends on the response to treatment. If there is no pain after the first round of injections, additional treatment may not be warranted. On the contrary, if there is absolutely no pain relief after multiple injections, an alternate treatment may be necessary.

What is an Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)?

An epidural steroid injection is a minimally invasive procedure using fluoroscopy (x-ray) technology to inject medication into the spinal nerve through the epidural space to relieve swelling and inflammation with an ultimate goal of complete pain relief.


Spine FAQ’s

Will I need physical therapy after I get minially invasive spine surgery?

Physical therapy is an important component of a rapid recovery. This is individualized to the patient, but in most cases, physical therapy started 2-6 weeks after surgery, depending on the surgery performed and the patient’s overall condition. For your convenience we have a physical therapy department within AOK Medical Plaza to handle any of your post-operative treatment needs.

Do I have to wear a brace?

Although most patients are provided a brace, this is for comfort only. The use of minimally invasive techniques that preserve muscle function, along with specialized implants that act as an internal brace, allows one to avoid having to wear a brace.

Will I have to take pain medication after my surgery? Will I become dependant?

The use of post-operative medication is specific to each patient and their treatment plan. There is no evidence that post-operation pain treatment leads to addiction.

How long is the recovery?

Recovery from each surgery is different for everyone. Some patients return to full activity in as quickly as 6 weeks while other patients require more time. We encourage all patients to participate in a physical therapy program to safely begin the process of returning to all normal activities.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Generally, minimally invasive spine surgery decreases the hospital stay by one-half. In a typical endoscopic discectomy, the surgeries are performed in the same day, and the patients go home shortly after surgery.

For various types of lumbar fusion surgery, the patient typically goes home in 2-3 days, where previously they stayed in the hospital 5-7 days. Furthermore, the immediate post-operative period is marked by much less pain when using minimally invasive techniques.

When Should I Consider Surgery?

Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to treating spinal conditions. However, if various non-operative treatments have been attempted without improvement or worsening over a 6-12 month period, then surgical treatment seems reasonable for certain conditions. The decision for surgery should be individualized to the patient and the patient’s symptoms, along with their level of function.

Are there any challenges with insurance coverage, due to this being a newer technique?

The procedures we perform are accepted by nearly all insurance carriers. Here at AOK Pain Clinic we have a great in-house billing team that makes sure all of your claims are processed quickly and efficiently. Should you encounter any issues they are happy to help you every step of the way.

AOKC Hours

Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

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