Epidural or Spinal Tap??

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hopelessgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/21/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
My pm doctor ordered me an epidural to be done. Can anyone tell me if this is the same as a spinal tap?? And what is it, what kind of experiencess has anyone had with an epidural? I'm going to of course look it up but I love to hear about personal experience. Thanks :-)
2002 Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Plantar fasciitis, Migraines / Daily Headaches, 2005 Gastric Bypass surgery (200 lb weight loss), 2006 Hernia repair (due to wls), one week later complications and an emergency surgery Bowel obstruction, March 2008 another Hernia repair, chronic back and leg pain all over muscle pain (doctors say it's related to fast weight loss and loss of laxity in muscles etc, Nerve damage / pain in back legs and arms / hands, herniated discs and spinal stenosis in lower back, high blood pressure, anemia, constant throbbing/rushing/heartbeat sound in right ear(doctors have no idea what this is), anxiety and depression most likely related to chronic pain.

Have been on so many different medications! Currently 75mg Fentaynal patch, 600mgs Neurontin 3xday, Immitrex as needed, Avapro, Prozac 80 mgs, percocet for break through pain as needed, Skelaxin as needed, Zanaflex (at night to sleep and muscle Relaxer)


PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/21/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
It is not the same as a spinal tap. There are many threads here already detailing our experiences with epidurals and other injections. I'd search the old threads on this site and you'll get lots of info.

I've had many epidurals but none have worked, however they may help some people.

PaLady

PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/21/2008 6:50 PM (GMT -7)   
One thing I should add is that epidurals and nerve blocks can also be used for diagnostic purposes. You can ask your doc if this is the case. In other words, if they inject medicaiton (usually steroids) into a certain area in your spine, and it relieves your pain, it means they have probably identified the source of your pain. And if they're doing it for diagnostic purposes, they may only use a short -acting steroid. If it's for pain control, hopefully they'll use a longer acting steroid, but even then most wear off within a couple of months. I have heard occasionally of people who have had a series - usually 3 - injections and their pain has been relieved for a long time. Ask your doc why he/she is doing the epidural. It may be for both diagnostic and pain management purposes.

PaLady

TDoern
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 5/21/2008 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
What I remember about my epidural that I had six or seven years ago isn't much but here goes...

1) it's a pretty decent sized needle - so the doctor saying this is what we are using is a bad idea if you are scared of needles.

2) you aren't going to want to be driving home afterwards, or have plans to do anything for the next day.

Basically they are going to have you lay or sit in a certain position - mine was leaning way forward. They might use their fingers to feel your spine to check where things are, and then mark on you to verify locations or whatnot. You will probably be hooked up to a pulse oxygen thingy (the little thing they stick over your finger) as well as a blood pressure machine just to monitor you... it was a good thing for me, because I tend to stop breathing when I'm nervous and I guess it's bad to not breathe... the doctor kept having to stop to get me to breathe. They will then sterilize the area - by using iodine or whatever it is they are using now days. You will probably have a localized numbing solution used to help things. They will ask you to hold very still and will then proceed to move the needle in and inject the steroid or whatever they are doing. It is very important to stay as calm as possible, and let the doctor know anything that you are feeling. If you get a sharp pain, or anything let the doctor know. For me it helped that the doctor verbally walked me through what they were doing.

I think it was harder on my husband - watching a huge needle get inserted into me - than it was on me. I had very minimal pain relief from mine - but at the time anything was better than none. It was then decided that there was no point in continuing the epidurals. They work for some people, and not others. I have heard a few people who will swear they changed their lives for the better.

As Gramps mentioned they do come with risks - make sure that you understand what they are before hand. Most doctors require you to sign a waiver as well stating that you are aware of the risks that come with the procedure - as I said - make sure that you know what they are before hand.

There is always a chance that something can go wrong - but from what I've heard people rarely have bad reactions to them. There is a small number of the population though that does. So your doctor may require you to hang out for awhile just to be on the safe side.

I know there are a great deal of people here who have not had relief from the epidurals - personally the chance at becoming pain free - or dealing with less pain - were worth the risks. I personally have to advise against too much internet research as it tends to freak me out - but it depends on how you react to what you can find on the web.

I wish you the best!
Tammy
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

"Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of, You might bend, till you break Cause its all you can take; On your knees you look up Decide you've had enough, You get mad you get strong Wipe your hands shake it off, Then you Stand" From "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
_____________________________________________________________________________
Dx.: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ulcerlative Colitis, Chronic Inflammation of the Colon, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1 w/pinched nerves, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Costochondritis, Back Muscle Spasms, Asthma, Benign Tremmors (hands)


hopelessgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/22/2008 8:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Ty for the info Gramps... I guess maybe I have had an epidural before and didn't know what it was. I did have have injections of steroids into my wrists for carpal tunnel.... I also have children and had and epidural with the third child and didn't feel the pain as much, but I thought that was a totally different thing?
2002 Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Plantar fasciitis, Migraines / Daily Headaches, 2005 Gastric Bypass surgery (200 lb weight loss), 2006 Hernia repair (due to wls), one week later complications and an emergency surgery Bowel obstruction, March 2008 another Hernia repair, chronic back and leg pain all over muscle pain (doctors say it's related to fast weight loss and loss of laxity in muscles etc, Nerve damage / pain in back legs and arms / hands, herniated discs and spinal stenosis in lower back, high blood pressure, anemia, constant throbbing/rushing/heartbeat sound in right ear(doctors have no idea what this is), anxiety and depression most likely related to chronic pain.

Have been on so many different medications! Currently 75mg Fentaynal patch, 600mgs Neurontin 3xday, Immitrex as needed, Avapro, Prozac 80 mgs, percocet for break through pain as needed, Skelaxin as needed, Zanaflex (at night to sleep and muscle Relaxer)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/22/2008 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
IF you had an epidural for childbirth, it's probably pretty similar to what you'll get for your spine as far as the general process. Although you probably have very different memories regarding childbirth! I know Gramps said the epidurals weren't used for diagnostic purposes but for me they were - but this was after a lot of other tests such as MRI's. Actualy, my neurosurgeon referred me for several injections in different sites to try to narrow down exactly what was causing the pain because it could have been coming from several different locations. So I had epidurals, facet joint injections, and they would inject at one level (L4-L5) and then another time L5-S1. This was because on the MRI many locations were problematic, so it was to isolate more precisely the location causing my pain.

But the only injection that ever really helped my pain to any significant degree was an SI joint injection, but even that wore off in a few weeks.

Since you've had some injections for yoru wrist and childbirth, I think you have a general idea of how things will go.

PaLady

p.s. Just to clarify a bit re: what Gramps has said, I have a hunch your epidural is for pain management, unless it's being requested by a neurosurgeon. My first epidurals were done by pain management doctors (interventional radiologists - the high tech guys) and were for pain management purposes, although the record of what helps and what doesn't can help with diagnostic purposes later on. But my last series of injections were for diagnostic purposes and ordered by my surgeon as he was evaluating me as a surgical candidate.

Post Edited (PAlady) : 5/22/2008 9:51:15 AM (GMT-6)


hopelessgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/22/2008 9:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the info, My PM doctor did order it for pain management (I'm pretty sure) but I get injections with her every two weeks we started with the Prolotherapy which I guess is suppose to help regrow tissue?? After two times I was worse off and in more pain, so she went to like a nerve blocking injection I guess which seems to help my tail bone area for maybe a week and thats about it, if I'm really lucky. So I was kinda confused why she would send me for different injections, she said they have equipment to see excately what they are doing and where they are injecting something like that. I pretty much just go along with whatever she thinks is best for me, I know that's probably not the best idea. I have a lot of stuff going on in my personal life (father in law recently died and my father is dying and more) So I just want to do whatever makes me feel good enough to try to help take care of my dad and not have to be in bed or on couch all day.
2002 Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Plantar fasciitis, Migraines / Daily Headaches, 2005 Gastric Bypass surgery (200 lb weight loss), 2006 Hernia repair (due to wls), one week later complications and an emergency surgery Bowel obstruction, March 2008 another Hernia repair, chronic back and leg pain all over muscle pain (doctors say it's related to fast weight loss and loss of laxity in muscles etc, Nerve damage / pain in back legs and arms / hands, herniated discs and spinal stenosis in lower back, high blood pressure, anemia, constant throbbing/rushing/heartbeat sound in right ear(doctors have no idea what this is), anxiety and depression most likely related to chronic pain.

Have been on so many different medications! Currently 75mg Fentaynal patch, 600mgs Neurontin 3xday, Immitrex as needed, Avapro, Prozac 80 mgs, percocet for break through pain as needed, Skelaxin as needed, Zanaflex (at night to sleep and muscle Relaxer)


hopelessgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/27/2008 8:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone and thanks again for all your replies and suggestions..... I'm going for the epidural tomorrow and I guess It's supposed to help a lot with my tail bone pain. I sure do hope so! That would be so nice to be able to sit for more than 5 minutes comfortably.
2002 Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Plantar fasciitis, Migraines / Daily Headaches, 2005 Gastric Bypass surgery (200 lb weight loss), 2006 Hernia repair (due to wls), one week later complications and an emergency surgery Bowel obstruction, March 2008 another Hernia repair, chronic back and leg pain all over muscle pain (doctors say it's related to fast weight loss and loss of laxity in muscles etc, Nerve damage / pain in back legs and arms / hands, herniated discs and spinal stenosis in lower back, high blood pressure, anemia, constant throbbing/rushing/heartbeat sound in right ear(doctors have no idea what this is), anxiety and depression most likely related to chronic pain.

Have been on so many different medications! Currently 75mg Fentaynal patch, 600mgs Neurontin 3xday, Immitrex as needed, Avapro, Prozac 80 mgs, percocet for break through pain as needed, Skelaxin as needed, Zanaflex (at night to sleep and muscle Relaxer)


hopelessgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/29/2008 7:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Gramps, I honestly don't feel much difference after the epidural. I guess I got my hopes really up when the nurse said "your not going to feel that much better today" but tommorrow you will feel great, that's what happens with most people" and while I was in the surgical center two other people were saying how wonderful they are and help so much, they were talking to someone else in the room who was waiting to go into the surgery room.

I felt sore and still the next daay feel sore, but my tailbone does hurt less. I think maybe my pain is somehow getting better, would'nt that be a miracle, but its like my upper back hurts more. They called today to schedule another epidural for two weeks I believe. I'm going to wait one more day to see if it's really worth another try.

And for anyone else to.... Does anyone know much about epidurals? Do you get them? I'm going to do some more reading online....

Thanks
2002 Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Plantar fasciitis, Migraines / Daily Headaches, 2005 Gastric Bypass surgery (200 lb weight loss), 2006 Hernia repair (due to wls), one week later complications and an emergency surgery Bowel obstruction, March 2008 another Hernia repair, chronic back and leg pain all over muscle pain (doctors say it's related to fast weight loss and loss of laxity in muscles etc, Nerve damage / pain in back legs and arms / hands, herniated discs and spinal stenosis in lower back, high blood pressure, anemia, constant throbbing/rushing/heartbeat sound in right ear(doctors have no idea what this is), anxiety and depression most likely related to chronic pain.

Have been on so many different medications! Currently 75mg Fentaynal patch, 600mgs Neurontin 3xday, Immitrex as needed, Avapro, Prozac 80 mgs, percocet for break through pain as needed, Skelaxin as needed, Zanaflex (at night to sleep and muscle Relaxer)


Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 12/8/2010 5:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Spinal taps and epidurals are very different.

Spinal taps remove fluid from the spinal canal.

Epidurals inject medicines into the area around the canal. Depending on the exact type of epidural this can be into the space between the discs and the spinal canal, into the spinal joints, or even into the discs themselves. (possibly other areas as well that I can't think of at 6am)
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 12/8/2010 5:19 AM (GMT -7)   
The special x-ray equipment most PM Dr's use is specific to the type of "injections" and can help guide them to the exact site. I had two injections, as a series to be sure I had some (even minimal) pain relief and to document that so that I could get a nerve ablation (burning of the nurve). The shots did not help me much because I cannot have steroids. I only got a little lidocaine, which numbed the nerve brance for a little while, but it gave the PM the information he needed to be able to document my improvement. Otherwise, the insurance companies will not pay for a nerve ablation.

At first, I didn't think the NA did much good, but about two weeks after (when the soreness was gone), my pain level went way down. It was good for about six months and then started going back up again. It's been almost a year and I will be getting another NA, also called RFA tomorrow. I hope this one (although quite painful for me to get) will be as helpful as the last one. It will give some quality of life back again for a period of time......assuming all goes well.

Best to you!
Retired Mom

Tirzah
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2279
   Posted 12/8/2010 12:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Just wanted to point out that this is a 2yo thread. It was restarted when somebody posted an ad for their chiro services (which is against the rules). I don't think anyone is actually looking for new info. :)

I have notified the Administrator about the ad.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 12/8/2010 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Good catch Frances....I missed it :)
Retired Mom
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