How Long Between Epidurals and Neck Surgery?

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 11/16/2011 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
My husband has a bulged disc or two in his neck and is getting an appointment scheduled to start trying ESIs (epidural steroid injections) in his neck. Physical therapy seems to be out of the question. The pain doctor says that, if the ESI's don't work that he will be sent to see a surgeon. But I am wondering, how long might it be before someone is actually willing to do (and Medicaid is willing to pay for) a surgery? What have your experiences with this timeline been?

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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16773
   Posted 11/17/2011 4:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ransomed, epidurals are done in a series of three spaced out over time. They usually do the initial one and wait 2 weeks, then do the 2nd one. It really depends on what the drs usual practice is on the eppies, but they will be spread out. It usually takes a few days to even a week to see if the epidural is helping or not.

Epidurals are not a fix for your husbands neck, just a procedure to see if they can get the pain lowered. Some people have great success with them and then some do not get any relief at all. Its a real mixed bag for sure.

Please keep us posted on how your husband is doing.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

White Beard
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 11/18/2011 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
I have found from personal experienced, that my surgeon used the epidural as an indication that surgery was actually needed and that it was the correct area. Most of the time when I got epidurals in my neck, I only got about two or three weeks of relief. But my surgeon would ask me if I had the epidurals and what kind of relief I got from it. He told me that since I did get some relief from the epidural, that was an indication that the area was the correct area causing the problem and that the impingement was causing inflamation and presure on the nerve root thus causing me the pain, and he felt that surgery could help relieve the pain.  It did too! my last ACDF ( sept 2009) they removed the disk and fused C5/6 I had the surgery in the morning and when I was back in my room in the afternoon my arm pain was completely gone. I also had anther fusion done in November of 2010 this time they fused the articular joints at C3/4 and they went thru the back of my neck and secured with rods and pins. This was an extremely painful surgery and took allot longer to heal but in the end it also did what it was suppose to do and relieved the pain in my upper neck and the lower back of my head!
I had, had a series of epidural injections over several months, before I had either one of these surgeries.  The only thing I can suggest to your husband is to take it easy and be careful with what he does, with the way his neck is.
I do wish both of you well, and hope everything works out, please keep us all posted on how he is doing. Good Luck to both of you!
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 11/20/2011 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I think I tried everything before I had my cervical spine surgery end of March this year...

I first tried everything in order to rule things out... facet injections, 3 cervical epidurals, physical therapy, three rounds of Prolotherapy, massage, acupuncture, 3 different types of pillows, cervical pumps, TENS unit, medication, EMG tests, Botox, patches, & gels.

I had a horribly painful posterior approach and at 7 months post op... I sit here in a trememdous amount of pain and now still have numbness in my pointer/middle, thumb, back of hand and up my arm to my shoulder...

Surgery does not always help so have your husband think long and hard about the decision and at least try everything to help... sometimes lesser pain may be the answer..

Also, make sure to get at least two opinions from two different neurosurgeons.... the first meeting with a neurosurgeon resulted in him wanting to do an ACDF on only one level in my neck... if I went with that first opinion I would have needed another surgery, maybe more... I just had too much damage...

I wish you the best...

C3 through C7 right open door laminoplasty, C2 through C10 hemilaminectomies, C2 through C7 right forminotomy, and left C5 through C7 foraminotomies, C3-C5 structural rib allograft and local vertebral autograft & C7 with the same allograft & local verterbral autograft & Vertex instrumentation C3-C5

Post Edited (Draka) : 11/19/2011 10:39:24 PM (GMT-7)

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