A calm woman sits in a doctor's office with her eyes closed while music notes, a spine, and an injection float around her

Nerve Pain Injections for Psoriatic Arthritis Back Pain

I used to be terrified of needles. Someone else (the person with the needle in their hand) was in control and I didn’t like that. Having blood drawn or even getting a flu shot was a major ordeal. It is very difficult to treat autoimmune disorders like psoriatic arthritis without injections, so I learned to (mostly) get over this fear.

Every week, I give myself a methotrexate injection, and every eight weeks, I self-administer my Tremfya injection. Easy peasy. But there are still some injections that make me nervous.

A little discomfort to avoid a lot of psoriatic arthritis pain

Today, I had a suprascapular nerve injection. It was the first time I have had this injection and the thought of receiving it in my shoulder made me anxious. The pain at the time was extreme, so I put on my big girl pants and hoped for the best. When I arrived, I shared with the staff that I was very nervous and they assured me that, since I had done so well during lumbar and SI injections, this would be a piece of cake.

I assumed this was just something they say to make patients feel better. The doctor came in and gave me the injection and it took a total of about five seconds and was no more uncomfortable than a pinch. It was the easiest of all the injections I have had. The pain I feel in the middle of the night is far worse than what I experienced during this procedure.

My arm is still numb from my elbow to my shoulder, which I’m reminded of when I try to move it. I feel a little like Bob Newhart in the old Carol Burnett clip. It’s his first day on the job as a new dentist and keeps injecting the Novocain into himself. (If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and go watch it now!)

Some are easier than others

Today’s injection was part of a series of injections ordered by my pain management doctor. I have also had a sacroiliac injection and a lumbar facet injection by this doctor. My previous pain management doctor had also given me these injections multiple times.

Having had these procedures by different providers, I will say that they each have their own methods and that some are easier than others. These aren’t painful procedures, but there is a bit of discomfort as the medicine is injected into the spine. I have not had lasting relief from these procedures, which makes it all the more frustrating.

My next injections in the series are for hip bursitis and a cervical epidural. When I saw the doctor today, I asked about the epidural. It was a relief to learn that I will have some sedation for this injection. I have had bursitis injections in the past and, while no injection is pleasant, they are tolerable.

Find your own coping techniques

I make a point not to look around when I enter the procedure room. I don’t want to see their tools. What the medical staff is doing is none of my business. I ignore the heck out of them. Sometimes I try to talk. Tell a story. It doesn’t matter if anyone is listening.

The last time I was there, the radio was on so I sang Hold On along with Wilson Phillips as loud as I could while laying on my stomach, face in a pillow. I like to sing the wrong words to that song, so I did. "Til then baby are you gonna let them hose you down and make you cry."  This is my procedure and I do whatever makes it easier for me.

If you are considering injections for your pain, the pain that you are experiencing is probably worse than the few seconds of pain you will feel to get some relief. Do what you need to get through those few seconds and then pat yourself on the back for taking care of yourself.

As always, please discuss all treatment options, including nerve pain injections with your healthcare team.

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