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ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/26/2008 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Has anyone had this procedure for Chronic Back Pain? I have severe pain (nearly 6 yrs now) in the L1-L2 and L2-L3 discs and recently had an acute episode of lower back pain on top of that. My doctor is going to do "Lumbar Epidural Spinal Injections" of anesthetic and corticosteroid. I am a little anxious about the procedure, but mostly I just really hope it will help. I was hoping some of you might have experience with this and be willing to share.

Thanks!

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 2/26/2008 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had the series of 3 shots. For me, it worked while the anesthetic was there, but the pain was back within days. Quite honestly, in my opinion, this is just one of those hoops they make you jump through to say they have tried everything. HOWEVER, these shots have helped other people for a year and can be repeated if they help.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and baclofen
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 2/27/2008 3:25 AM (GMT -6)   

Have to join the others here in saying they didnt do much good and not for long for their worth.

I have seen some folks say they got a noted amount of relief for a brief period of time I didnt. Have seen those like Gramps that had more problems with pain after.

To add insult to injury they can have some serious side effects and some have suffered permenant nerve damage from using a Doc that didnt know how to give them properly so make sure your Doc has done this procedure often and knows his stuff by all means and this isnt to say that any of them can make a mistake.

Unfortunately alot of pain clinics and Neuro's require you to try if they are going to continue to treat you,like Mochiah said it is one of the hoops used to get to the defining moment of obtaining what really works,looks good on paper to say you have done this this and this prior to being given the proper amount and type of meds to control your pain levels.

Good luck and dont take this lightly as it is an invasive procedure and anytime anything is being introduced into your body and especially your spine it carries risks.

Hoping others can give you more positive vibes here.


2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 2/27/2008 10:31 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi!  Just my 2 cents worth re: the epidurals.  I agree, it can be just another "hoop" they make you jump thru on your way to something bigger (like my fusion, say) but yes, some people DO get good relief from them. I never did & like Gramps, most of them increased my discomfort.  I had my 4 facets done, bilateral L4/L5 joints, + 2 epidurals directly into my DDD (L5/S1) area + then the SI joints too.  All over a period of 4 months, prior to my 3rd spinal surgery last month.  Whew! Tried it all! To no avail!

And I agree w/ Ruth, too:  be sure your doc is experienced & uses X-ray guidance, esp in that area, as anything directly into the epidural area can pose a lot of risk, being so close to your dura & the internal spine itself.

And if you're offered some Versed (makes you aware, but you just don't care!) take it!  I was "out" for all 9 of my shots, so at least your physical/mental perception of the injections' pain themselves can be reduced. Plus I was always a basket case b4 any of them, b/c of the CP in that very tender area & not really wanting anyone or anything going in there! 

One more thing:  in order for my neurosurgeon to "have permission" from my insurance co to do the fusion, I had to have: PT, TENs, injections & meds, to "prove" that everything else had been tried & failed, so look at it as either a "cure" or just another hoop...but either way, I hope you get some relief!  Back pain is never over, but it can sometimes be reduced w/ the right treatments.

Good luck! :)

 


Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery complications includied sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & DDD @ L4/5.
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery with pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time)  & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after discectomy @ L4/5. OW!!!


volfan
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 2/27/2008 11:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Ryand,
Seven or eight years ago I had the epidural shots for a herniated disc problem. I was experiencing low back pain as well as sciatica. The first two did nothing except for making the pain worse. After the third injection I was virtually pain free for probably five years. When I was injured in 05 which led to where I am now (disabled) I again tried the epidurals. This time they did nothing but nothing else I tried worked either. So, I underwent surgery which is a whole other story. I know others who have had the injections with great results and I also know others that they didn't work for.
If you elect to undergo the procedures make sure as others have stated it is done under x-ray conditions. I believe it's called a Fluoroscope. Never let anyone do this blindly as I've known some who have. I also have a friend who tried acupuncture. She had great results with that.
I wish you all the best in whatever you choose!
Have a Blessed Day,
Volfan

Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 2/27/2008 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Please also remember that we are at a chronic pain forum.....so the people who have had them and they worked, they probably aren't here as members!

I am glad volfan was able to say that they worked so well.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and baclofen
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 11289
   Posted 2/27/2008 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I have little to add because you have received excellent answers from the others. My first pain mgt dr never did them on me, he said they do not work on acute pain. He did in fact ref his patients out for them. It was exdplained to me as like putting a bandaide over the problem. Susie


ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/27/2008 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your replies. I have had facet injections and radio frequency neurotomy, but both with no relief. I don't have much hope that the epidural will help, but it is what my doctor wants to do and a hoop I'll jump through I guess. I think she is suggesting it because of the "new" low back pain, but she's going to inject at the higher levels where the chronic pain is as well as the lower ones. The nurse told me that this doctor "sometimes" is willing to give sedation, so I'm hoping she'll let me have it as I am pretty anxious about the whole thing. It freaks me out to have a needle anywhere near my spine (mostly because I'm afraid I'll move wrong and paralyze myself or something), but I am also a bit worried about getting a spinal headache. I've had one before after a spinal tap and they didn't figure it out for 5 days, even though I was actually IN a hospital the whole time.

I've been grateful to find this forum, although I'm sad to know that there are so many people who suffer like this I am strangely relieved to know I'm not the only one. I appreciate your support.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/27/2008 9:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Throwing in my 2 cents which is basically the same as others. If you've had facet joint injections, then you have some idea of what the epidural wiil be likc. It's just an injection at a different location. I had injections in varying locations over three different summers. It began to feel like the movie Groundhog Day! The only injection that ever helped was for my SI joint. I did have cortisone injections for trigger fingers in my hands and they actually worked like the MD said - but it took a series of 3 of them, and then the problem stopped. Wish that would have be the case with my spine, but I ended up with a fusion, which hasn't helped much either.

ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/27/2008 10:43 PM (GMT -6)   
PAlady, you and several others talked about a "series" of shots. Everything my doc has said sounded like there was just one round of this. How did you end up with more than one? Did they try several before officially saying it didn't help, or did you get a little relief from the first so they kept trying with more? If it doesn't work for me, I'm hoping they don't want me to repeat it...

Sometimes don't you wonder if the docs and clinic just keep doing "things" to you just so to keep the clinic's revenue up? I wouldn't mind if there were some relief in sight, but after the 49th thing fails to help even a tiny bit it gets a bit discouraging! I know I'm preaching to the choir here, so forgive the griping, please.

Post Edited (ryand) : 2/27/2008 8:48:38 PM (GMT-7)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/28/2008 12:19 AM (GMT -6)   
No need to apologize for the griping. Regarding a series of shots, in my case they would just try different locations. I had epidurals, facet joint injections, etc. at L4-L5, L5-S1 and even L3-L4. Some of the procedures were repeated shortly before I had surgery but more for diagnostic purposes than pain relief - so the surgeon could try to narrow down the problem. I think even when the injection helps with the pain, they often try a series of 3 injections in the same place to see if it calms down the inflammation or solves the problem - which as i mentioned did occur with my hand. I'd suggest asking questions of your MD before they start the injections so you know what the plan is.

I do think at times things are done to keep the revenue up, but I also think there are many good-hearted MD's who genuinely want to relieve our pain and will just keep trying. Usually, we want to keep trying, too (who wouldn't?!) so we are participants in the process. I guess the challenge is to know when enough is enough, but that may mean accepting we're as good as we're going to get. That's the tough thing, as least it still is for me.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 11289
   Posted 2/28/2008 1:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry, bit no ESI should be done w/o some type of medication. In fact, if I were you I would make it clear, no pre-meds no injections. We hurt enough w/o someone wanting to add to the mix. Usually ESI's are done in a series of 3 injections, they keep saying well the second one might help, then its the third one that might help. Keeping revenues up, you bet ya. Susie


notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 2/28/2008 4:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Looks as though you have gotten some good advice here.
 
Mochiah I liked that CP forum so if it worked they might not be here. LOL lovin it when we can bring a laugh to the table.
 
I see Gramps got the giggle as well!
 
Dont forget how good it looks on paper too. "No relief noted" " Some decrease in pain after injections" For some it is a lead up for bigger things,paves the road to justify increase in meds or start up of narcotic treatment,etc. You get my point? Alot of Docs like having all those ducks in a row prior to and these things are not cheap so revenue may be a motivator for some offices or clinics and then some Docs want to give you the broadest range of options to possibly help.
 
I wouldnt do it without sedation either and or X-ray guide, dont relish the thought of someone taking a shot in the dark in such a narrow space with a rather large needle!
 
Here sure is hoping you get to be one of the lucky ones and find some relief in them but either way they usually try more then one i.e. the set series. More if it helps and more if it doesnt hoping the next one will.
 
Please let us know how you fare when its over and good luck to you.
2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/28/2008 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
PAlady - please forgive me! I wasn't saying that you were griping, I was apologizing for MY griping. I am super grateful for every little bit of information and support from you and everyone else on this board. Your information was very appreciated. I am glad to hear you all support my push for sedation and some pain meds during the procedure. They say "Oh it will be over in less than 15 minutes - it's not that bad." I want to ask them if they've done it themselves... Being on the business end of a large needle so close to your spine is scary for anyone. With your support, I feel better about insisting on sedation.

Thank you all for your help.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/28/2008 10:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I didn't think you were referring to me - I was commenting on your apology about your griping. Either way no big deal! LOL By the way when I received injections they gave a numbing agent by injection first - before inserting the longer needle. I didn't take anything orally for pain, and found I didn't need to. It really depends on the whole situation. Talk in detail with your MD.

ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/28/2008 6:29 PM (GMT -6)   
OK, now that I read more closely I see what you really said, PAlady. My goodness, I guess that pain fog in my brain affects me more than I realized! LOL! (because laughing is better than crying, right?)

Thanks to Lakeside, ruth, gramps, and all the rest of you too! I am going to go ahead with the shots. I hope they don't make me do three if it doesn't work, but I will do whatever they tell me to so the records fit their plans. Maybe eventually one of the doctors will actually stumble on something that makes it better! I do have to say, though, that it is harder to keep hoping the longer this drags on. I have so much respect for all of you. I've read around the posts in this forum and seen just small glimpses of your trials, too, and I think you are all so brave and wonderful to have such positive attitudes.

I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the good wishes!

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 8137
   Posted 2/28/2008 6:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I wanted to says good luck to you. Hope the injections work for you. I found out that these injectons are mainly a diagnositic tool for the doctor, to see if they helped or not. Thats pretty much it in a nut shell. Keep us posted as to how your doing. I had a total of 8 injections last week and nothing, plus I have added soreness from the injection sites.........
************************
* Asthma
* Allergies
* Osteoarthritis
* Spinal Stenosis
* Mild DDD
* Enlarged
Pituitary Gland
* Fibromyalgia
*************************

Patient: "I always see spots with my eyes"
Doctor: "Didn't the new glasses help?"
Patient "Yes, now I see the spots clearer"


blizzardlizzard
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 2/28/2008 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a series of 6 epidurals in 6 weeks and have to agree that they were absolutely useless. Actually they made my back pain worse and afterwards the doctors told me that I could have residual pain in my back up to 2 years because it was a surgical procedure. I never had the amount of back pain that I have now until after the shots. I would be careful if I were you. Good luck.

notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 2/29/2008 5:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Ry just wanted to say that you cant ever lose the "HOPE" sweety. It is in teh end all that some of us have left. After all the procedures,all the surgeries,all the alternative methods have failed us,hope prevails.
 
Hope that tomorrow is a better day, as long as there is hope on the horizon there is reason to push on.
 
I hang on to the hope in thinking that new procedures are found each day and everytime a new Doc is born there is hope he or she will be the one to find a better med or stumble onto a new surgery or make progress in an old one,hope is the reason each of us put 2 feet on the floor each morning knowing that not to is far easier most days.
 
Hope is what I see motivating folks like Geamps to push for better education,clearer laws,and more effcicient systems for us.
 
Hope is the one thing that all of us can posses,it costs little,requires no maintainence,takes very little of our effort and it isnt prejudiced!
 
In that said you go in there hoping that your injections WILL work and give you some relief and if it doesnt you hope it will lead your Doc to treating you more efficiently. Hope that your one of the lucky ones and it doesnt make anything worse for you.
 
If all else fails you hope that your suffering is not long and that the future medical dictionary's have NO listing for Chronic intractable pain.
 
Take care and good luck.
2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 2/29/2008 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Ruth:

Thank you. Your encouraging words were just what I needed this morning. You are so right and I will keep the hope too. This forum has been a Godsend to me. It is such a gift to be able to talk to people who understand this world of pain, procedures, and doctor's visits.

You are all a blessing to me.

notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 3/1/2008 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   

No need for thanks Ry as these forums are part of my hope and if it hadnt been for those "voices" in cyberspace when all this was new to me I am not sure I would have made it,folks just like us here encouraging,pushing,advocating,hearing our pain when no one else does is one of the best pain meds I have found.

Again good luck to you and here is keeping fingers crossed you get some relief!


2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 3/1/2008 7:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Yup, Ruth, that is what gets us to stay here. I didn't even lurk when I first found this site, I joined right away and have no plans on going anywhere! Other sites that I found were more along the line of how to get more meds above what your doctor give you...what OP do you use...what pharmacy do this one use. It sounded like people were paying big money to get the medications that they couldn't get elsewhere. It was sad, but felt superficial. This site helped me more in the first week than any of the others ever did. I've learned so much here, love reading Gramps' posts...he's my hero! I feel like I know everybody here because they are just like me.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and baclofen
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.


notnu2cp
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 3/2/2008 7:05 AM (GMT -6)   

Mochiah I had belonged to another forum for years and stumbled in here one day and read for a few days and found myself thinking it was much more peaceful and more folks wishing to help rather then stir up trouble which had become a huge factor at the other board.

Too many folks had become "real" and were putting way too much of themselves personally out there and things were happening there that should not have been happening there,scams,money requests,ads for folks at home businesses,just alot of outside the realm things you know?

People were setting the,selves up for all kinds of horrific things putting too much out there and not realizing the boards can be accessed by way more folks then those with pain issues or good intentions.

I have not been back since I came here and everyone has certainly made me feel "right at home"

Each person here brings their own thing to this place and hoping each person that leaves here takes something good away with them.

These places are such comforting places for those in need we sometimes forget that it is cyberspace and open to all walks of life.


2 knee replacements & a hip.
spondylosis at L-4,5 & S1
arthritis,sciatica all that being a CPer entails!
 
If you stumble make it part of the dance!


TTRN
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 3/2/2008 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I dont post here often but read frequently. Just have to offer some insight into epidurals, I had one in Sept. in my neck, and became sicker and sicker and the pain all over my body was horrific. They told me it was fibro,however finally we found that I had osteomyelitis. An infection in the bone,extremely dangerous,I got it from the epidural. Well 31/2months later I am feeling more myself,but you take a risk no matter what tx option you try. Thanks for listening. Toni
Life is never the way it is supposed to be. It just is. Its the way we cope with it that makes the difference.


Mochiah
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 3/2/2008 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree Toni. I worked with an ortho years back who didn't like doing injections/drainages. He used to say "you stick a needle into someone enough times and you are just asking for trouble."
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and baclofen
 
To handle yourself, use your head...to handle others, use your heart
 
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.

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