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Intrathecal Analgesia


Intrathecal analgesia (IA) is a type of pain control. It is also called spinal anesthesia. Pain medicine is put around your spinal cord to control pain from surgery or labor and delivery. IA can also be used to control long-term pain from illnesses, such as cancer. IA medicine can be given as a single injection, a continuous infusion, or as small doses when you need them.



  • Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain and fever. Acetaminophen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Ibuprofen: This medicine decreases pain, swelling, and fever. Ibuprofen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage if not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


The following information can help you care for yourself after your IA catheter is removed. If you go home with an IA catheter in place, ask for catheter care instructions.

  • Care for the insertion site: Keep the puncture area clean and dry for 24 hours. Cover the area with a small bandage for 1 or 2 days.
  • Rest as needed: Lie down until your headache is better. Contact your healthcare provider if your headache is severe and it does not go away after you lie down.
  • Drink liquids: You may need to drink more liquids for the first 12 to 24 hours following your procedure. This may help decrease your risk for a spinal headache. Liquids containing caffeine may also decrease the pain of a spinal headache. Do not drink alcohol. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have severe neck or back pain.
  • You have a severe headache and it does not get better after you lie down or take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your catheter is still in place and you have bleeding, swelling, or fluid leaking from it.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have trouble thinking clearly.
  • You have a stiff neck, especially if you also have a fever.
  • You have numbness and tingling below your waist.
  • You have difficulty moving your legs or feet.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Intrathecal Analgesia (Discharge Care)

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