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Old 04-16-2005, 04:52 PM   #1
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grbrren HB User
How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Hello,

Just wondering if any of you have pain relief from lumbar epidurals and if so, about how long have they lasted for you? I know the time can vary but I'm just being curious as to the averages.

I had a set of three at L3/L4, L4/L5, L5/S1 exactly two months ago and I have had a great deal of my pain taken away. It's incredible - before the shot, I actually forgot what it was like to NOT be in constant pain. I can't believe how bad I felt and how much better I have been for the past two months. Unfortunately, I think it may be wearing off because yesterday the sciatica and lower back pain came back - not nearly as bad as before but I'm nervous. I know there's a limit as to how many shots you can have in a year (the last set of three was my 5th in about 4 months) but I don't want to go back to that constant pain, not being able to sit or stand for more than 5 mins without pain, not being able to sleep, etc. So, I guess I'm wondering how long epidurals have lasted for all of you and also, once it wears off and you've already had too many shots... what's next?

Thanks so much!

 
Old 04-16-2005, 05:11 PM   #2
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

You might want to read the online publication, The Burton Report, in regards to the shots. There is a lot of research out there on them. Three in a year is suppossed to be the max. You had [COLOR=Red]the last set of three was my 5th in about 4 months[/COLOR] Yikes!!!!

The shots are just a tool to find out if there is a stuctural problem or not. Since your inflammation came back (pain), they are going to want to find out what is causing it. MRI? CT? X-Rays? yet???? PT? accupunture, white noise therapy, hypnosis, ice/heat, meds? The shots are a stop gap.

I have talked to people who have the shots done on a regular basis. They now have damage from the shots. There is a really scary one, I forget the spelling but it starts with an *a*.

Are you seeing a spine specialist? Shot factory? Group of pain management docs? It all depends on who you see and what is wrong.

I had shots, no help. I have a torn ligament. The shots are supposed to take away the inflammation. Next they may try oral steroids for you. Have you tried the Medrol pack?

There are those on here who have found relief, but most who find permanant relief have no more back problems and move along I think.

take care,

 
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Old 04-16-2005, 05:34 PM   #3
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Sorry, I didn't give much background info...

I know the shots have risks and I did a ton of research on them before I got the nerve to try. My primary care suggested them about 2 yrs ago but I wanted to wait until I just couldn't deal with the pain anymore and I didn't have a choice. I've had multiple MRIs, I've tried p.t., tens, pain meds, yoga, chiro, accupunture, ice/heat, almost anything I could find that was not invasive unsuccessfully before considering the epidurals. Oh, and yes, medrol too. I have cervical and lumbar DDD, pretty severe facet joint arthritis, reversal of the cervical lordosis, stenosis, bulging disk, sciatica, etc from being hit by a drunk driver almost 5 yrs ago.

I finally got to the point where I couldn't deal with the pain anymore, interviewed about 10 docs (a few shot factories - I was horrified at their enthusiasm to shoot me everywhere). Finally found a great pain management doc who spent a whole two hours with me and actually treated me like I was intellegent and informed. He basically tied together everything every other doctor had told me over the past 4+ yrs. My ortho specialist recommended him to me and I'm happy with him overall.

He mentioned that if the last shot was successful, I might want to consider cauderizing (sp?) the nerve. Has anyone tried this?

 
Old 04-16-2005, 07:22 PM   #4
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

I've been wondering this as well. I'm about 6 months post a 3-shot series, and was doing great till about 48 hours ago. Like flipping a switch, most of the pain I had pre-injection is back. Sigh. We know what's causing it, at least, as I've got a pretty sizeable bulge at L4-L5 and thinning at L5-S1... I read on a website that for most people who haven't had surgery 8 weeks per shot is about the outside limit of pain relief. Guess the question is, how long to let this go before picking up the phone. I can't sit for very long at all without getting sciatica in the right leg, and it takes a good five minutes or so to straighten back up again and walk normally. Driving's not much fun either. Hopefully we can avoid having to do anything till school's out, as it's more work not to be there than it is to hobble around in pain all day.

I think the "A" InjuredBetty mentioned is "arachnoiditis," a painful inflammation of the subarachnoid space, where the spinal cord is. According to that Burton Report it is extremely painful and mostly avoidable if an ESI is done using fluoro vs. blindly.

Have you seen a spine specialist? S/he might be able to do more for you than shooting you full of stuff that will leech the calcium out of your bones. Good luck to you!!

Amy

 
Old 04-17-2005, 04:34 PM   #5
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Thanks for all the input! I've seen a neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, a few anesthesiologists, and I've gone to a spine center but I don't think I've seen a "spine specialist". What exactly is a spine specialist?

Thanks again.

 
Old 04-17-2005, 04:52 PM   #6
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injured betty HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Did he say which nerve?

It looks like you have a whole mess of reasons for having pain.

The Medrol is much more powerful than the shots. If that doesn't work, a doctor usually doesn't try the shots. I am surprised that this one did.

I am not trying to come off negative, and that is great that you found a doctor who would go through all of your records with you and take the time, but sometimes wolves come in sheep's clothing. Take for instance, the vacuum cleaner salesperson who will stay at your house for hours if you let him. They numbly sit there and will listen to your life story if you want to tell it to them. Why not, they have a chance of making about a thousand dollars off of you.

I think the same of most of the PM's out there. Most of the ones that I have researched in our area have for one reason or other, lost their license to operate. They have no other direction to turn and pain equals big bucks. I would be hesitant to see any doctor who gave me that many shots in a year no matter how caring he is or how much time he spent with me. Mine charged me $500 for one shot. That is a lot of money for one shot. I never went back. Even if the shot had worked, and it didn't, it was only supposed to be a stop gap until they figured out what was causing the pain.

When one of the clinics I went to wanted to set up a schedule for shots, I ran. Sure, they do help some people, but they also destroy tissue. The doctors know that we will do anything to stop the pain. This is where the shots come in.

I would say that the sciatica and the arthritis is where you should focus. I had one doctor look at me and say, at least it is not sciatica. I am not sure how to take that. I took it to mean that it is hard to cure. I would find something that you can take for the arthritis that is not hard on your stomach and stick with it. Try Neurontin for the sciatica.

arachnoiditis Jsut reading about this possibility of this has scared me away from any further shots. Did the doctor who gave you the shots mention this? Did they mention that the insert from the ESI package states that it is not intended for use in the spinal area?

I hope that you find some relief.


 
Old 04-19-2005, 06:47 PM   #7
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grbrren HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Thank you all for your responses! Wow...arachnoiditis looks horrible! I can't believe I didn't find something about this in the research I did before getting the shots. No more for me...

Injured Betty, my PM doc mentioned cauderizing the L5/S1 nerve. He thought that was where the majority of pain was coming from.

The medrol did work - I felt like superman for the week that I was on it but that can't be continued for very long can it? I'd sleep for about 2 hrs every night if I was lucky and then bounce out of bed feeling like brand new. I mean, I felt incredible - too good, it didn't seem healthy.

Is it true for all ESI's that the package states that it is not intended for use in the spinal area? I'm pretty happy with oxycodone to reduce some of the pain but I was just hoping to stop taking pills someday, to find a long term solution but I guess I'll just stick with the oxy.

Thanks again for all the input. Hope everyone finds some relief.

Last edited by grbrren; 04-19-2005 at 06:53 PM.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 10:03 PM   #8
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sandollar HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

grbrren,
Betty is giving you some great advice! She knows what she is talking about. The more ESI's you have the more damage there is being done, making things worse, and more painful, not better.
I tried the Medrol pack as well, Yes it works great and can be used more often and is not as bad since it is oral and not injected into damaged tissue just to eat the tissue more.
Have you had any Spinal Surgeries? Or don't want to go that route?
Sounds like you have some terrible pain going on. But why have the injections to make the pain and damage worse, when the medrol pack does the same thing without all the damage?
I hope I am not coming off as being mean. I would never do that, it's just that your post is really scary.
And if you haven't tried surgery, may I ask why?
As for the Carterizing of the nerve, it's just killing the source of your pain, probably permanantly.
Do some research on it, It sounds like it might be worth a try, But make sure first that there is nothing bad about it, that you would have to live with. Like loss of feeling in area's of the body.
I wish you all the best,
StarDust

 
Old 04-20-2005, 04:10 AM   #9
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Hi

The other have all given you great advice.

Neuroablation (burning of the nerves) is the destruction of nerves that serve as pathways to the brain.

This is typically only performed when other treatments have failed, they use heat to sever the nerves that are transmitting pain signals. The destruction of these nerves may be permanent, or the nerves may grow back in time. Neuroablative techniques are usually applied only as a last resort when other therapies have failed...

I also have severe neuropathic pain and my PM was against doing the "Neuroablation" because she said (in her experience) the nerves almost always regenerated and more times than not left her pt's as worse or in some cases MUCH worse.

As for the Arachnoiditis, I have it and it is hideous. You do NOT want it.
Luckily I do not have the adhesive form.

Just something else for you to consider...

 
Old 04-20-2005, 07:33 AM   #10
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grbrren HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Hi all,

I can't thank you all enough for your responses... and of course, I don't think that anyone is "being mean". I greatly appreciate the honesty. Maybe I'll look into Medrol again, what are the drawbacks? I'm really concerned with all the steroids and drugs I've been taking and their impact on the possibility of having children some day - in addition to the complications of horrible back pain with pregnancy... if it's even possible.

I'm really shying away from any invasive approach, including surgery. Plus it is so expensive and my insurance tries to get out of paying anything related to my accident. The drunk driver's insurance policy is only 50K max and my bills are already 30K+. Sorry to vent... that's another whole annoying story that I don't know what to do with.

Anyway, I've been told surgery won't help me and a few people I know who have gone through spinal surgery wish that they had not. It took me two years plus just to consider the ESI's. My main fear of neuroablation is loss of feeling in other areas of my body, if I ever consider this route, it won't be anytime soon.

Has anyone tried a gentle form of yoga or something similar and had even a little bit of relief with it? I wonder if it's worth even looking into. I've tried PT unsuccessfully multiple times but it seems that yoga takes an alternative, much less damaging approach.

I'm really just tired of the medical field and doctors... seems like I keep going in an endless circle.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!! Best hopes and wishes to you all.

 
Old 04-20-2005, 08:03 AM   #11
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Hi,
Medrol, I think is GREAT! As for the steriod and Future Pregnancy part of it. My youngest daughter, who is 20 now, was born with adult size tonsils and choked on everything, then she had a problem with her right arm falling out of socket almost daily after an accident.
Her Doctor invited us to his house to teach me how to put her arm back in the socket, since the ER's kept telling us to: Let it hang, it'll go back in.
She was 18 months old and I refused to "let it hang".
She was on steriods most of her life. She now has a beautiful 2 year old boy.
And at 8 yrs old they took her tonsils out, And her arm became stronger.
But that was her. Check on it, as for long term effects etc.
I agree with no surgery and wanting children in the Future, Surgery could be devastating to the body and being pregnant with a spinal surgery, I cannot even fathum.
The Best of Luck to whatever you decide, You might also want to check on the effects of possibly taking Medrol DURING pregnancy. I know it works GREAT other times.
StarDust

 
Old 04-20-2005, 08:29 AM   #12
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kt41577 HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

I've had 2 injections that lasted about 3-4 weeks each, they offered me another one, and I refused it..why bother? then they said to have a botox injection in my butt to help with the leg pain, but it won't help the back pain, so I'm not doing that either, too risky.
any other suggestions?

Last edited by kt41577; 04-20-2005 at 08:31 AM.

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:35 AM   #13
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Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

Just a quick note as someone who had to take oral steroids often (medrol) for asthma and Rheumatoid Arthritis... there IS a side effect... osteoporosis. Just wanted to remind everyone that no medicine is "side effect free" and if you are young enough to be considering effects of pregnancy, you need to be concernced about bone health. My osteoporosis is due to long term use of prednisone (medrol) and a hysterectomy at 26... so it isn't 100% to blame, but the dr does blame it for about 40% of my bone loss! Also you can devlope Addisons (sp?) disease from long term steroid use as well...it is a great medicine, but not without its side effects.

Just my 2 cents.

-Michelle
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:02 PM   #14
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acl828 HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

You actually have had an exceptional experience. I've had 5 epidurals since Dec. '04 and not one helped me. In fact, all they did was give me 2 good days of really bad soreness each time. Your doc is going to be thrilled that yours actually helped, I bet. Let him or her know that your pain is returning. I imagine they'll do another one. Good luck!

 
Old 04-21-2005, 01:33 PM   #15
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: How long does epidural pain relief last for everyone?

I had a lumbar block under xray and it did not relieve my pain. It made it worse and 4 days later I couldn't lift my toes, and had to have surgery. But I had a herniated disk that had herniated onto the nerve. I think the shot can be dangerous.

 
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