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What Is a Marcaine Injection?

Updated November 21, 2016

Marcaine (bupivicaine) is a local anesthetic used to prevent or block pain. It is used in many procedures, from dental work to childbirth.

Joint Pain

Marcaine combined with a steroid can be injected directly into a joint to control pain from surgery, trauma or a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Marcaine can ease the pain for eight to 12 hours or longer while the steroid works to calm inflammation.

Back Pain

Marcaine injections are used in a discogram to help find the source of spine pain. By anaesthetising specific nerves as they emerge from the spinal cord, your doctor can determine exactly which nerves are sending pain signals to the brain, and can then treat these nerves individually, allowing you to reduce or eliminate systemic painkillers that can affect your overall function.

Obstetrical Pain

A Marcaine injection is also used as a "spinal" during childbirth. This blocks feeling in the woman's lower body but does not interfere with labour. Because the anaesthesia is regional, it does not affect the baby.

Side Effects

According to the site RxList.com, an allergic reaction to Marcaine can cause "hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat." For these, tell the person giving the injection immediately, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.

Less urgent but still serious side effects can include slowed breathing, slow or fast heartbeat, anxiety, dizziness/fainting or trouble urinating.

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