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Old 02-18-2004, 02:21 PM   #1
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dennfore HB User
Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

I am very torn on the issue of epidural injection into my back. I live in constant pain, due in part to one ruptured disk and one bulging disk, but to a greater extent due to Fibromyalgia. Could some of you share your success/failure stories? From all I have been told, it is likely that it may not even help, so why bother to put yourself through the pain of the procedure? Help, please!!!!

 
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:34 PM   #2
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delilah1963 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hi Dennfore,
I am one shot into my cervical epidural series. Maybe 20% improvement so far. I get my next one on Friday. It doesn't work for many, but it works wonderfully for others. A friend of mine had lower back herniated discs and was in terrible pain...9 months of stooped over walking, sleeping on the tile floor, innumerable trips to chiro, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, on and on. So she goes and has the series of 3 shots. This was 8 years ago, yes 8, and she has been pain free since. Another friend of mine had the same scenario (lower back -- 1 ruptured and 2 herniated discs) and had the shots last summer is at about 80% now. Some get nothing out of it...but

If insurance isn't an issue for you, what is the harm in trying for some relief? A couple of suggestions:

- have a anesthesiologist perform the injections...he/she is specifically trained. other doctors may be "pain management" specialists and able to do it, but are not "trained" to do it.
- have it done under fluorsocopy -- live x-ray so that the doc knows exactly where the needle is and they aren't flying blind.
- ask for sedation -- I was given Versed, a "twilight" amnesia drug and it was a piece of cake. I mean it, because I am a big chicken!!

Here's the post I made the day after so you get the details of what it's like:
**********************
well, I had my first cervical steriodal epidural and facet joint injections on the right side of my neck yesterday. Here's what it was like:

Check in, check vital stats, into pre-op for IV insertion in hand and some kind of drip...they said Gatorade for the blood :-) . Gown on...open in back...socks and undies left on. (How's this for detail!) Wait in hall on gurney, OR asst. comes out, puts cap on my head. Wheel into OR, lay face down on table with head in donut, like a massage table kind of, oxygen doo-dads in nose. Wipe upper back with red stuff, lay surgical drapes around area. Start antibiotics...no problem...start Versed for twilight effect...gonzo. zzzzzzzzzz land. Wake up...groggy but not nauseous, given juice, couple more minutes...get dressed. Hubby drives me home...quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for some sugar! Eat donuts in bed and sleep for 3 hours. Wake up, feel pretty good...a little tentative, not up for a game of Twister or anything. Up for a while and back down in bed...up and down rest of day. As day wore on and anesthetic wore off, rt. side of neck was tender, but manageable, a little headache, but not bad. Only insertion point is a little needle stick about an inch or two below the big bump at base of neck. Bandaid just a little roundy-one. Looks like I was out for a mosquito bite! LOL. Feeling OK today, at work, won't overdo though, just seeing how it goes.

So, go with a good anesthesiologist, fluoroscopy and that Versed...my new best friend.

I'll let you know of relief factor in a few days to a week. So far feeling pretty good though.
**************
Best,
Del.

 
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:39 PM   #3
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Jessie1 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

[QUOTE=dennfore]I am very torn on the issue of epidural injection into my back. I live in constant pain, due in part to one ruptured disk and one bulging disk, but to a greater extent due to Fibromyalgia. Could some of you share your success/failure stories? From all I have been told, it is likely that it may not even help, so why bother to put yourself through the pain of the procedure? Help, please!!!![/QUOTE]

Hi Dennfore,

I got my first epidural today, and beforehand I was also torn about getting an injection. I have 2 herniated discs, and (as my doc told me today from my MRI report) DDD. What made the decision for me was that if these epidurals work (I am scheduled for a series of 3), I will be able to avoid surgery. The procedure does hurt (see my other thread), but so far it seems to have helped. Of course, the local anesthetic they used is still working, so I'm still kind of numb. I will let you know if it continues to work! If I can do anything to help, or you want to know anything else, let me know! Good luck!

Jessie

 
Old 02-18-2004, 04:02 PM   #4
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lfoster21 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hello,
I agree with much of what has already been said. I was torn since my Ortho. sais it works 50% of the time. (He also said, for the ones it works for...it really works well). I finally decided it would be worth it if it worked. Well, it worked great and I am goinig to finish the series of epidurals. I went to a pain management Dr. who used the fluorsocopy x ray. I also took a diazapine, which really calmed my nerves. There was some pain when the local was applied, but not nearly as much as I had worked myself up into believing. Also, it only lasted 2 or 3 sec. Once that was applied then I didn't feel anything. I recvd. it in 4 areas of my lumbar area. It did hurt like a bruise the next couple of days, once the local wore off...But I am almost pain free. I am hoping to go back to work after the rest of the epidurals. (I haven't been able to work for the past 3 mo.)

Good luck,

Lorie
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Last edited by lfoster21; 02-18-2004 at 04:10 PM.

 
Old 02-18-2004, 04:57 PM   #5
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SpondyMom HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

I don't know anyone in real life these have worked on. I do not doubt the posters here have been helped, but my experience was they were a waste of time and money. I wound up getting surgery anyway. But if I were you, I'd try one and see how it goes! Good luck!

 
Old 02-18-2004, 05:02 PM   #6
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dennfore HB User
Thanks, everyone...

While I am still torn, you have given me food for thought. At this point, I am leaning towards at least trying the first one...what the heck, all I have to loose is the pain...

 
Old 02-19-2004, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hi Del! Thanks for sharing! Your story has given me some courage to reconsider. It was relieving that you were given Versed which enabled you to avoid pain and relax. Mostly though I especially want to implement the stop at the donut shop! My hubby will like that too!

What kind of medication was used for your epidurals?
I'm concerned as I've learned there is one that can cause a disorder called arachnoiditis.

I am so amazed that you went to work the next day! You're more than a trooper! Have you been able to continue working and how is your pain level?
Did you experience migraines from your cervical condition? If so, after the epidural treatment, did it stop the migraines?

I would appreciate your imput! Thanks!

 
Old 02-19-2004, 02:26 PM   #8
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wolebearsnc HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

[QUOTE=dennfore]I am very torn on the issue of epidural injection into my back. I live in constant pain, due in part to one ruptured disk and one bulging disk, but to a greater extent due to Fibromyalgia. Could some of you share your success/failure stories? From all I have been told, it is likely that it may not even help, so why bother to put yourself through the pain of the procedure? Help, please!!!![/QUOTE]
hi there,, I had my 1st one lst fiday & have another one scheduled for next frid.[the 27]...
the day OF the injection went better than I tought it would...BUT when I woke up the next day I was in so much pain that I almost had my hubby take me to the ER...[mine was in the spine L5-S1 area]...
even though I have seen no difference in my pain they have told me I probably wouldn;t till the 2nd one...so I am crossing my fingers that next week will show some difference & I wonlt have that pain the next day likie I did the last time...
sorry if this sounds negative BUT like you said what do we have to lose ...maybe this WILL help ...
wolebearsnc

 
Old 02-19-2004, 02:46 PM   #9
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delilah1963 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hi CalSun,

Yes, the Versed was a lifesaver. It didn't make me feel sick like general anesthesia does just seriously sedated, I mean I didn't even know I was there. I don't know if I would have had the nerve otherwise because I really am a big baby and it's hard enough to be in pain daily, let alone sign up for more...the donuts were a real benny...I ate them in bed when I got home and fell fast asleep and awoke in a sprinkling of toasted cococut and powdered sugar! LOL

Anyway, let's see, the epidural contained cortisone, some type of anesthetic (sorry, I don't know what kind but it was just to keep the area numb for a few hours), and a type of saline solution...the doc's office called it a "hypertonic saline solution", but I do not know the purpose of the that part. I don't know what arachnoiditis is, but I guess I didn't get it because I feel OK now.

My condition is a little confusing to report on because I have arthritis in my neck and some bulging discs, but I also, unfortunately, have TMJ disorder. I've tried treating the TMJ w/splint therapy, and a number of other modalities (PT, chiro, drugs, etc.) but it persists. I am sure the TMJ makes my neck pain worse, but I am currently at a loss as to what to do about the TMJ, so I am trying to attack the neck issue in the hopes that it will squelch some of my pain and give me a chance to calm down TMJ wise too. It's so interconnected that hopefully if I can fix one, perhaps it will help the other. Yes, I have bad headaches (I think they're more tension than migraine, I also have face pain, jaw pain, tingling on my chin, and lots and lots of muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders and upper back).

The doc pinpointed the rt. side of my neck, and frankly that has felt better. It used to be tender to touch and feel like the vertebrae themselves on that side hurt, but not hardly at all anymore. The left side still hurts so I'm going for that tomorrow. I still have tightness and spasm in both my shoulders and jaw pain, but my pain overall is feeling about 20% better and I haven't had a tension headache since.

Please do not be disheartened by it being only 20%, CalSun, because I honestly believe the majority of my pain in from my TMJs and not my neck...I'm just treating what I can at this point. I think if it were more my neck my improvement level would be much, much higher.

I worked the next day about 6 hours or so. I felt a little out of sorts, but pain wise it was just a little sore, like I had worked out too hard...except I haven't worked out in a long time. :-(

The first 3 days after I had it done, I had virtually no pain, even in my jaw, so I was pickling in cortisone, but after my body flushed out some of it, some of my pain came back, with the exception of the 20% I mentioned above. And yes, I am still working, like a dog. LOL

I know I just rambled around a bit, but I hope I answered your questions. Just be sure you follow those points I mentioned in my first post above (anesthesiologist, fluorscopy, versed, etc.).

Best to you, let me know what happens. It's worth a shot, so to speak. Wish me luck tomorrow.

Del.

 
Old 02-20-2004, 08:50 AM   #10
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californiasunflower HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hey Del that's great news! Thanks for all your input! Very helpful! I appreciate the encouragement! And, will remember the key points: Anesthesiologist, fluorscopy, and Versed!

For TMJ, you mentioned using the splint which failed. If I understand correctly, the mouthgard and the splint are two different kinds of objects. Am I correct? Would a mouthgard be helpful? Do you also experience clenching teeth too? Wal-Mart has a mouthgard for $25 that is easy to set up to fit in accordance with one's oral cavity and is remarkable keeping the jaw positioned comfortably at night, preventing bruxism too, which can cause the same symptoms you described: trigeminal pain, temple pain, facial pain and facial tingling. Again the relief is remarkable and if you haven't tried it already, might beneficial for you!

Hope you get relief! Best to you too! Hugs! CaSun

 
Old 02-22-2004, 09:19 PM   #11
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Angry Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

1 1/2 years after my L234 hemilamanectictamie,fussion with pedicle screws and rods,developed much pain in lower back.and was sent physical therpy (which was really stupid) and then for epidural injections by a pain maniagement dr. who weighed 400 lbs ,recommened by what I believe to be top surgens in the field upmc pittsburgh.First injection was in dr. office wille I looked out the window with my pants down,in goes the shot no pain fell little better for 2 wks .I asked why no floroscop and stuff like I've heard to do and doc said he's been doing this for 25 years and has it down pat and top nurosurgens would'nt recommende him if it was not so. Second shot had no effect,and my back got much worse so I almost could not get out of bed,pain was absolutely incridable.Mylogran die would not go in had much scaring blocked spinal passage,teathered spinal cord.6 mounths later exploration surgery remove metal rods,scar tissue,fluid etc.,its been a week post opp and doing better MY oppinion of epidural is its a waste of time that could be used for a better purpose,It's like novacane for a broken leg .

 
Old 02-23-2004, 07:38 AM   #12
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delilah1963 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

[QUOTE=freshwaterjim]1 1/2 years after my L234 hemilamanectictamie,fussion with pedicle screws and rods,developed much pain in lower back.and was sent physical therpy (which was really stupid) and then for epidural injections by a pain maniagement dr. who weighed 400 lbs ,recommened by what I believe to be top surgens in the field upmc pittsburgh.First injection was in dr. office wille I looked out the window with my pants down,in goes the shot no pain fell little better for 2 wks .I asked why no floroscop and stuff like I've heard to do and doc said he's been doing this for 25 years and has it down pat and top nurosurgens would'nt recommende him if it was not so. Second shot had no effect,and my back got much worse so I almost could not get out of bed,pain was absolutely incridable.Mylogran die would not go in had much scaring blocked spinal passage,teathered spinal cord.6 mounths later exploration surgery remove metal rods,scar tissue,fluid etc.,its been a week post opp and doing better MY oppinion of epidural is its a waste of time that could be used for a better purpose,It's like novacane for a broken leg .[/QUOTE]

Dear FreshwaterJim...

There is no doubt that epidurals are not for everyone. In many cases, the damage to the discs is too severe for them to be of any help. I've read somewhere recently that they are more successful with cases that are not as advanced, i.e., bulging, herniation...but not major damage/fusion, etc.

All the best. I hope your recovery continues to go well.

Warm Regards, Del.

 
Old 02-23-2004, 07:53 AM   #13
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delilah1963 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hi CaSun...

Thank you for your kind and informed suggestions. TMJ is a real bugger. I have tried the WMT variety, which as you mentioned is a mouthguard. That was my first step. Then I tried a repositioning splint, which unfortunately was administered by a dentist that didn't really know what the he!! he was doing...I then went the P.T./chiro/accupuncture/drug route. Drugs work the best, along with massage, which gets very expensive. My next step in jaw treatment is another mouthguard (not repositioning), but custom made so I can wear it during the day and actually talk...it will cost about $300 clams, which beats the exhaustive (financially, emotionally, etc.) 2nd round of repositioning splint, which would include braces, etc., which is more like 5,000 clams! All not covered by insurance.

Boo hoo.

OK, that's no way to start the week. :-)

The epidural on Friday went well, again no major pain, just tenderness, but I have NOT taken one single pill except for a nighttime relaxant since Friday. I cannot tell you what a different that is from my usual routine. I hope it continues.

You have a great day, I'll keep you posted. You should come to Florida and see my doc for your epidurals. He's awesome!! The donuts here are pretty good too. LOL

:-)

 
Old 02-28-2004, 03:50 PM   #14
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californiasunflower HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

Hey Del! Such good news about the lessening of medication after the epidural! That is significant! We could use some Florida sunshine and donuts!

Gosh! So sorry about the TMJ. Bummer that insurance excludes the services you need for the treatment. Wish that the Plans would give special considerations for when the usual, customary services do not satisfy the patient's needs. The upswing is that hopefully all that the doctor does for you will help!

It is a great day today! Sky is sunny and blue, and the air is warm! Take care of yourself and I hope the trend of less meds continues! Keep in touch! Hugs! CASun

 
Old 02-28-2004, 04:12 PM   #15
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carol632 HB User
Re: Epidural injections, to do or not to do....

I have had numerous injections since l983 and every one of them offered some relief; sometimes more than other times, but always helped to some degree.
Carol

 
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