Q:

How do you relieve pain after having a myelogram with a CT scan?

A:

Quick Answer

The most common side effect of a CT myelogram is a headache, which is typically treated with rest and fluids, states Scoliosis Spine Associates. Regular activity should be not resumed until the next morning.

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Patients should keep their heads elevated for 24 hours following the procedure, explains Resurgens Spine Center. This requires sitting in chairs or raising the head with pillows while in bed. During this period, at least eight large glasses of liquid — excluding alcohol — should be consumed.

Neither aspirin nor ibuprofen should be self-administered to deal with the headache, because they tend to thin the blood, according to Resurgens Spine Center. However, upon patient request, medical personnel are able to offer another analgesic agent, Johns Hopkins Medical advises.

If the headache persists, a "blood patch" is sometimes performed, Scoliosis Spine Associates states. The headache is caused by spinal fluid leaking into surrounding tissue. To repair this, blood is drawn from the arm and injected into the site of the leak. This typically halts seepage and eliminates the headache.

During a myelogram, some spinal fluid is removed, and then dye is introduced into the spinal canal using a needle, reports Johns Hopkins Medical. A CT scan is used to take images of the spinal canal, cord and nerve roots. The scan itself is not painful, Emory Healthcare explains, but some patients find the injection process uncomfortable.

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