I bent over in March of this year & somehow made my back start hurting but I believe it had been in the works for years; just took that one time. After a few days of severe right leg pain I went to see my PC who really had no idea what was going on. Next I went to see my chiro for a couple of visits & he then decided I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon. Got an MRI in May & the results were not that good. Since then I've had 2 ESI's, a nerve block at L5 & am waiting on my neurosurgeon appt in Sept. Since March I have had severe right leg pain where my leg feels like it is being pinched in a vice with pain down the right butt cheek. Got my 2nd ESI on thurs and may be rushing it but haven't had the good relief that I got on the first one. The first ESI totally relieved the pain for about 30 days!
I've been on narcotic pain medication for Fibro since 2000 & am taking myself off the morphine. I am so tired of the monthly appointments, counting of my pills, UA's & having to be sure I always have enough meds before we go anywhere. Anyway, I've decided to give myself 6 months off to see if I really need narcotics. When I got my disability I was taking 500 mg morphine/day & about 1 1/2 month ago I was on 300 mg morphine/day. I have worked myself down to 60 mg morphine 1 time/day.
Back to my original question. How many ESI's does a person need before deciding to do back surgery? I am also on medication for osteo & don't know if that is a guarantee for failed back syndrome.
My ESI's worked for about a week each (I had two of them three weeks apart). As I was sitting on the table for the second one, the doc said it was time to refer me to a neurosurgeon. He said he normally only does three ESI's for a person, and after the second, you normally wait three to six months before the third. MY ESI's were in April and early May, I had the consult with the neurosurgeon on June 1, and an L5-S1 microdiscectomy on July 5. Long story, but I'm still having issues and will probably be having another surgery in September.
With what you've said in your post, I think you are right in seeking a surgical intervention at this point. Good luck and keep us posted.
If you have a compressed nerve, which it sounds like you do, you will have waited long enough. You run the risk of permanent nerve damage the longer you leave the nerve compressed.
If you have a discectomy, the medication for osteoporosis shouldn't be a problem. I can't say if it might effect bone growth if you were to have a fusion...I wouldn't think so, but don't know for sure.
Sometimes it takes longer for an ESI to have some effect...so don't give up hope yet.
I would agree with tetonteri66. If you have nerve issues, the longer you wait the more damage you do. I speak from experience since I suffer with severe nerve damage most likely due to the long time interval from developing signs, then having to dance through all of the hoops the insurance company sent me through, until surgery which was easily more than a year. Nerves are very sensitive things and don't like being injured. The doctor said there could be healing but it is extremely slow.
Thanks for the replies. I had been praying that the neurosurgeon would have a cancellation before Sept. 19th, which was my scheduled appointment date. They called & I go see him tomorrow so will let yall know what he says.