Posted 1/4/2012 11:19 AM (GMT -7)
I had an epidural injection done at C3-C4 if I recall last year. It didn't help at all.
The doctor's intention was to do one injection just above the levels where the pain was likely coming from and let gravity do its work.
A few months ago, I tried trigger point injections. There are a few specific locations that can feel like burning spears while other areas where the pain is more diffuse and related, at least in part, to muscle tightness.
The main location for a burning spear pain was dramatically helped by an injection. The doctor injected the same location a few weeks later as well. Now, about 2 months since my last injection, it is still much better.
However, the other injections didn't help. But at least one made a difference.
So, even if there is a core spinal source for the pain, different mechanisms get into play: nerves, muscles, etc.. Maybe some properly targeted trigger point injection can help with a few spots. They may not take away all the pain, or get at the root of the problem, but I'm still glad I had them done.
A few days ago, I was fixing a drawer, which required that I lean forward. It used to be the case that within minutes the burning spear would show itself and I would be in agony. But now, I could stay in that position with just discomfort, tightness and a bit of a gnawing feeling. That is, click the pain up to a 4 vs an 7.
Epidurals offer the dream of getting at the source and so taking away all the pain. Trigger points are more hit-and-miss partial solutions. But they can still offer some meaningful benefit. They haven't really changed my routine chronic pain, but they have stopped one core cause of major pain flairs.
If you do try trigger points, my guess is that they work best on the focused areas of pain. So where you have them, mark them (or have someone else do it if you can't reach) before you see your doctor when they are actually hurting. That way, the doctor can guide the injections more accurately.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray