Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Journal: One day after IV Lidocaine

Yesterday morning, I went to the hospital's Ambulatory Procedure Center for my trial of IV Lidocaine. I was ushered down a big sort of hallway to one of a down little curtained alcoves. After a brief exam by the neurologist, a friendly nurse started an IV, hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff and pulse-ox monitor, and administered a syringe marked 'A'. The first dose is 'blinded' such that neither I nor the nurse knew if it contained Lidocaine or saline.

About 5 seconds after she started injecting syringe 'A' into my IV, I could tell I was getting the real deal: I got dizzy, and my tongue started to feel like it had been replaced with a potato. That didn't last long, though. Did it relieve my pain? Well, I dunno. My pain usually comes on gradually over the course of the day; at 10 a.m., I'm usually not feeling too bad yet.

I got a couple more doses of the Lidocaine at 30 minute (?) intervals. As I lay on the hospital bed, eating zucchini bread, watching CNN, and listening to a patient down the hall gently snoring, I noticed my leg pain gradually building up to a subtle humming, though the burning sensation felt more like numbness than like burning. At about 1:00, the neurologist came back around to see me off, and explained a little more about the idea behind the therapy. He analogized neuropathic pain to a radio that isn't tuned into a station, causing static. The Lidocaine is supposed to tune the radio back into the right station, so that the brain isn't producing the static. Although Lidocaine has a half-life of 40 minutes, the 'retuning' effect is supposed to last longer. Some people experience relief lasting weeks after the treatment; others need to use a pump gizmo that administers a constant dose of subcutaneous Lidocaine.

When my wife picked me up after the treatment, I was feeling a tad wobbly, but the effect of the treatment on my pain was hard to gauge. I kept track of my pain level on an hourly basis until dinner time, but the real test would occur today as I sat at my desk and stared at my computer.

Today, I'm not sure I'm feeling any different. As I write, I've got the familiar burning pain in my thighs and butt and shins, and a warm feeling on the bottoms of my feet. I'm kinda disappointed. I'm going back to the pain clinic next week to follow up on the treatment.

I'm thinking I really ought to be looking into ergonomic solutions: I spend to much time hunched at my keyboard staring at my monitor. Perhaps if I had a wireless keyboard/mouse, I might be able to spend more time leaning back and distributing my weight more to my back (as opposed to butt/thighs only), I might get some relief. I just hate to launch into a new battle with my boss. Blech.
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The Review Gal said...

i ran into your site while i was researching for my snoring site and i couldn't pass without saying a word... great blog! congratulations!..:)
Snoring Book Reviews

Anonymous said...

dear shoester, I found your blog through a Google search on lidocaine IV treatments. Did you go for more IV lido treatments? Did they help with your nerve pain? I have severe fibro and am signed up for three one-hour lido treatments in the next 2 months. I am hoping to take fewer daily pain meds. Actually at the moment I don't know if my insurance will cover this but since my chronic pain is systemic this treatment looks like a good fit for me. wenda@verizon.net

Doug Lee-Knowles said...

The IV lidocaine didn't really work for me. After the initial swoon as the stuff went in, I was back where I started, pain-wise. Since then, I've been on Cymbalta and amitriptyline. It's definitely helped, though its effectiveness has seemed to decrease somewhat after a couple years.

Hope you have better luck with lidocaine; research suggests it works fine for some.