good news and a "good" problem to have

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 3/23/2010 8:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Since I'm pretty new here, I'll give the quick 4-1-1 on my last few weeks. I have 4 level DDD (lumbar) with moderate to worse than moderate but not severe pain. I've had a radiofrequency neurotomy and more ESIs than I can count. PM wanted to do a neurostimulator trial, which I had 3/10-3/17. On 3/10, I had some sort of "episode" where I passed out or something (more on that in a moment), and the PM said they wouldn't do anything else until I was cleared by a neurologist (possible seizure). She does want to do a different trial ( with a stimulator placed where it won't cause stimulation down the leg).

So, we find our heroine sitting in the neurologist's exam room. Nice older gentleman walks in with a med student (sweet girl- best of luck to her!), and they start asking questions. I explain what happened, and I said, "and she said they won't do anything else until you tell them that it was no big deal." He responds, "It was no big deal. Really." After asking a few more questions (and calling my son to ask him some questions), he tells me that there are no worries, I'm just a fainter. Nothing weird. Nothing funky. I'm just a fainter. um... ok... he's ordered an EEG, just to make sure, but he's not worried.

There's my good news. Now for my "good" problem. Y'all are going to think I'm nuts, to tell the truth. Yes, I have chronic pain, and yes, I experience pain every day at one level or another. But I only need the "real" pain meds (not OTC) when I have flare ups (and many nights to sleep- for some reason, I always hurt more at night). I hate taking pain meds, and I really prefer having ESIs on a "routine" basis. Almost every time, I get up to 75% relief for several weeks, at least. The PM suggested the stimulator because ESIs stop working at some point, and did have a couple not "take."

So... I probably need to schedule the new trial... but... what if I'm not having a flare up during the trial? I mean, I almost feel like it would be a waste of time if I'm not really hurting. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I want to (or can, for that matter) force a flare up. Gah! Oh, I know... some of you would do almost anything to be in that position (I know a CP family member would)... I feel guilty asking...

Anyone have any advice?
DDD (4 levels- L2-3 thru L5-S1)

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 3/24/2010 4:38 PM (GMT -6)   
   Dear Beth,
     I am glad you appointment went so well. As to your questions ~~>what if I'm not having a flare up during the trial? First question that comes to mind is , on average, how many flares do you have during any given week? Also, have you asked you doctor? I am sure this kind of question you can leave via email or telephone message, so he can answer you question when he has a spare moment.
     I hope you get the answers you need quickly and more so that you have a realxing evening.



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood



Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 3/25/2010 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
hi beth
i had a stimulator inserted so i know a bit about them.
they are considered a LAST RESORT treatment for pain. when everything else fails to relieve pain then consider the stimulator. if it was me and my pain was not there very often then i would not have the trial. i think you should be in constant pain to seek out that solution. but thats just me and when you get those flair ups if your life is so miserable you cant stand it and nothing seems to help then give it a try. ....pete

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 3/25/2010 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   

I don't always have a major flair up every week. Sometimes, however, a flare up can last over a week. It all just depends.


That's what I was thinking, but the PA seems to think this is the next step. When I mentioned continuing with the ESIs instead of the stimulator, she said, "well, why don't we see what happens after the other trial."

Hmm... you know... I think I'm going to call and ask for an appointment with the doctor and not the PA. Just to see what happens.

DDD (4 levels- L2-3 thru L5-S1)

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 3/26/2010 12:13 AM (GMT -6)   

You mention ESI's are you referring to Epidural Steroid Injections? If you are, you can only have so many of them in a certain period of time! And these injections carry with them a certain amount of risk. And although they might give you relief for a period of time they are not a good option for continual pain relief! I agree with the others, that I would be more than a little cautious about getting the stimulator. But I also would not be getting those ESI"s all the time either! Have they tried giving you a TENS unit to try and treat and control your pain? Maybe that might be worth while trying! Just a thought??

Good Luck to YOU!

White Beard

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 3/26/2010 3:31 PM (GMT -6)   
White Beard,

I have a TENS unit, and it does help. And, yes, I am referring to epidural steroid injections. My PM will allow 6 per year, with a certain amount of time between injections that I can't remember right now. I've been averaging about one every 3 months or so.

I also agree that there should be more caution about getting the stimulator. I just scheduled an appointment with one of the PM dr's at the practice (instead of the PA). I was a little miffed when I was getting the stimulator trial removed and I asked about doing more conservative treatments (ie the ESIs or just plain drugs- which I HATE taking) and she just blew me off and said, "let's see how the other trial goes first." NO... let's talk about other options.

I'm going to the PM dr on April 5th (or next Monday, if I get finished with my EEG quickly enough). We'll see what happens.
DDD (4 levels- L2-3 thru L5-S1)

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