How long does it take for a cervical epidural injection to work and other ?'s...

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LakeMurray
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 8/15/2008 7:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Background:
 
I have severe and debilitating scapular, teres muscle, and lat pain.  It's been discovered a few months ago that cervical spinal stenosis and a bulge in C6-7 may have been the problem the whole time.  Last Thursday my doc gave me an epidural under the x-ray machine thing.  I felt better for about 3 days(placebo?), but not so much in the 5 days since.  Should I be discouraged by this, that a) the Stenosis/Bulge isn't my problem  b) even if it was, it's too far gone after being untreated/diagnosed for 10 years? The doctor has obviously told me some things, but I want some input from folks who've had real-life experience w/ this themselves.
 
Questions:
 
 
1)How long did it take for yours to work?
 
2)If it didn't do the trick the first time, did more injections help(if so, how many)?  Or were they a lost cause.
 
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 
Thanks!
 

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 21765
   Posted 8/15/2008 8:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Last year I had epidural injections in my SI joint. The first one started working within a few days - ah what a relief!! But it wore off in about 2 months so I went in for another injection and it didn't touch the pain so the docs didn't even do a 3rd. Right now I am in the series of epis for a C5/C6 and C6/C7 bulge and herniation. I've had this pain for a long time and not until just recently did I find out about the bulges. The first injection took about 2 weeks for it to work which surprised my docs because they said the typical response is around 3-7 days. It started wearing off about a month after the injection and then I had my 2nd yesterday. I found that this time it worked much faster then the first. They usually do a series of 3 injections and it has a cumulative effect. I think that by the time you have a 2nd injection and you have no relief, then obviously it may not work for you. Not everyone has relief from these injections unfortunately. So I guess only time will tell if they are going to work for you or not.
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Allegra~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~2nd epidural injection 8/14, Neurontin and Skelaxin
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Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2137
   Posted 8/15/2008 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
There are usually two parts to the injection -- an anesthetic (which kicks in almost right away & may have been what made things better at first) and a steroid (which is supposed to be longer acting).

I've had the same issue as you, with relief at first followed by nothing. Doing it under the flouroscope did help me some because at least then the docs could get it consistently in the same place -- or if it didn't work then in a different place -- but it's not a guarantee either way.

Epidurals are a pretty inexact science, so just because it didn't work one time doesn't mean it won't work in the future. I think there is a limit though of how much they can give you in a row -- something about tissue damage or something from the steroids, I'm not sure I remember exactly.

Also, have you been putting ice on the the injection site? Usually that helps me get a little better relief from the epi.

Take care & hope you feel better!
frances

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2137
   Posted 8/15/2008 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
There are usually two parts to the injection -- an anesthetic (which kicks in almost right away & may have been what made things better at first) and a steroid (which is supposed to be longer acting).

I've had the same issue as you, with relief at first followed by nothing. Doing it under the flouroscope did help me some because at least then the docs could get it consistently in the same place -- or if it didn't work then in a different place -- but it's not a guarantee either way.

Epidurals are a pretty inexact science, so just because it didn't work one time doesn't mean it won't work in the future. I think there is a limit though of how much they can give you in a row -- something about tissue damage or something from the steroids, I'm not sure I remember exactly.

Also, have you been putting ice on the the injection site? Usually that helps me get a little better relief from the epi.

Take care & hope you feel better!
frances

LakeMurray
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 8/15/2008 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Good input... Thank you both.

ladyred
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 8/15/2008 7:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I just had my first injection yestersay and you seem to be in a better place than me the injection has laid me low this last 2 days and Im taking my pain pills on top just to take the edge off but I did have my on my lower back sorry but near my but crack has to be the only place on my body without any body fat to help ease some of the pain of the injections.  Just my opion on that on though lol.
 
But my doc told me as well that it can take up to 5 days intil you feel any relief and it can take the serries of 3 shots as well.
 
I am hopful at this point even though I am in more pain right now than I was in befor that after the soreness weres off that I will experience some relife.
 
I think that eveyone is different to how they respond to the injections.
 
I really hope that things go well for you and you get some relife
 
Lara

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 10590
   Posted 8/16/2008 12:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lake Murry,
 
Haven't seen you around lately and really hate to hear how things are going for you. My pain dr sayd its really a good 2 weeks before you will know if an eppie is going to work or not. I think not sure Frances hit on the head, the first relief you feel is from the novacainr type deadner used. The steroid is suppose to help reduce inflammation and it is not fast acting. Personally I have little faith in the ESI's, these are the ones done in a series of 3 injections spaced apart. No you cannot have alot of the total series done close together. My first dr that I totally trusted told me they are really useless on people that have had pain for a long time.
 
I am under the care of another excellent pain dr and he did the Radio Frequency under Floroscopy on my neck. They say they will last 6 month sometimes longer. I had an excellent response to this procedure. For the first time in years I no longer felt like I had baseballs under my shoulder blades. I had done every type of PT out there to no avail, went thru chiropractic care and nothing would relieve the mess until I had the RF done.  I was totally amazed that this dr did something that took that pain away because no one else had had any luck doing so. I also had a medial branch block done, along with the RF on my low back and facet injections.
 
I hope somehow you can find something that works. If you try the 2nd injection and get no relief I would not bother going thru that a 3rd time. Steroids can be great for many, many things, long term use is not good for our bodies. Good luck and get to feeling better. Susie


LakeMurray
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 8/21/2008 8:33 PM (GMT -6)   
An Update:

It's been 2 weeks since my 1st injection and I've had no relief.  It may be worse, actually!  Though it could be my let down, emotionally from it not working, that has just left me more hopeless and in more percieved pain. I felt great for about 2 days, but since then it's been all down hill.
 
What do I do next?  Get another EPI or just assume that a 2nd and 3rd injection won't help, since the first didn't?
 
Should I just go ahead and ask about the "Radio Frequency under Floroscopy" thing?  I've never even heard of it.  Thanks for all your help guys and/or gals.
 
 
 

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2137
   Posted 8/22/2008 10:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Maybe you can try it again. Sometimes if they are just a hair different in placement it can make a big difference. Sometimes it takes a cumulative effect for them to kick in. If your doc's cool with doing another one, why not give it a shot? (ha, ha. I just got that when I re-read it. :)

Another option is to get a facet injection (you can even get multiples at one time). Instead of going in your lower back, they are injected at the level of your pain (in your neck). It uses a shorter, skinnier needle so it doesn't go all the way down into your dura. I think it works on the nerves or the joint, or something. Maybe you can look it up. Or else maybe another member knows. If the facet injections work, even if only for a couple weeks, it would be a good indicator that perhaps the Radio Frequency could work for you. They can do the facet injections either "blind" or under the flouroscope. Prior to the RF, though, the docs need to do the facets a couple of times under flouro to make sure they're hitting a pain sensor & not a motor sensor on your nerve (otherwise you might not be able to move your arms for 6-24 months until the RF wears off :).

Anyways, don't get discouraged. There are a lot of options out there. You just need to look at this like a job or training for the Olympics or fighting in a War or anything else that inspires you to keep going until you succeed. Having a positive attitude is super hard, but if you keep telling yourself positive things (especially if you say them aloud) they will become easier to believe. Seriously, there's like a hundred different things you can try & one of them is bound to work.

---> sending happy thoughts plus 8 lucky smilies over to you --> :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) -->

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 21765
   Posted 8/23/2008 5:51 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree that maybe you should give the 2nd shot a try. Who knows? Maybe the second one will be the magic shot :) If after 2 weeks of the 2nd shot and you are still in pain then you should persue other options. Are you on any medications for the pain such as a nerve pain med or muscle relaxer?
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Allegra~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3rd epidural injection 9/4, Neurontin and Skelaxin
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


John David
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/18/2012 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Just had my 1st c5/c6 epi injection yesterday. I'm in more pain now than since the issue began 3 months ago. My GP said I'd have relief after 24 hours, yet the Doc who administered it said 3 days, as well as the possibility for up to 2 more. My issue was more nerve impingement, with a minor bulging disc - sharp, radiating pain along both shoulders - especially rear delts, biceps and (of course), neck/traps. It's amazing how this affects your normal, everyday routine.
 
Pain meds and tylenol are my friend!!

All the feedback on this thread is extremely helpful - thank you to everyone who has posted.
 
 
 
 
 

Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 2/18/2012 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   
John David...

Welcome to HW...If you notice, this particular thread is from 4 years ago...

So...it would be great if you could cut/paste your post and start your own new thread...The button is on the upper right of the page..

This way, you can introduce yourself, fill us in on how long you've been in chronic pain..what are your main issues...etc.

We want to be able to have more people see your post and help welcome you...

Thanks!..
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006
 
 
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