Posted by kate
on November 08, 1999 at 10:05:46:
In Reply to: Collapsed Disk posted by Angela on October 11, 1999 at 06:33:48:
: My boyfriend has a collapsed disk in his back, he has recently had a procedure where they inject a substance into the disk to dissolve the jelly inside it.
: It has been 6 weeks and his back is still very sore and it seems that the procedure has not cured his back pain. The doctor says that there is nothing more that can be done for him. Does anyone have the same problem, and is there something else that can be done about this? He wakes up every night in constant shooting pain down his ciatic nerve.
Angela-I can totally relate. Pain is excruciating to the point of impairing normal daily function, can really get a person down and depressed. (Your emotional support will help him tremendously as well.) My disc ruptured on it's own after auto accident (no medical intervention), bones slid forward and I now need spinal fusion to correct (a ghastly prospect). Anyway, if you are in an area where a pain clinic is offered (i.e. hospital or specialist M.D.), injections of epidural steriods will help. Usually they limit series to 3-4 injections over six months, as steroids tend to stay in system for awhile. Series can be repeated after 6 mos to 1 year. It's a minor surgical procedure, outpatient, about 4 hours total. (Procedure itself is relatively short, 30-45 minutes, it's pre and post that take up time) Patient awake. Local is used to numb area of spine where injection will be. Anti-anxiety given prior to relax. A needle is then inserted between/around the vertebrae/disc area and steriod is injected to reduce pain/inflammation. (Again, doesn't hurt because area is numb). On a scale of 1-10, my pain was 10 prior, down to about 5 after series of injections. Results can last for up to a year. This was a temporary fix for me, as only spinal fusion surgery is going to get bones back in place and off the nerves they're hitting.(STRONGLY urge he steer clear of narcotics, as I have relied on them so continually am now dependent and scared out of my wits.) Look for a good orthopaedic (bone) M.D. (preferrably surgeon with spinal specialty) or neurosurgeon/neurologist (nerve). If he can get to an MD in a teaching hospital, that's an excellent route, most up to date. If he is treating with a general practice M.D., he really needs an expert opinion. There ARE alternatives available out there-you may have to travel if you're in rural area, but it's worth it. Best of luck, I know how he's suffering.