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Old 04-03-2013, 07:47 AM   #1
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New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

Hi all,
So I've been managing my back pain pretty well with norco, Lyrica. Meloxicam and a portable TENS unit. I'm able to sit for a longer period of time... Which is helpful, as I've been having to travel to conferences these last few and next 10 days.

I am scheduled for a bilateral Transforimnal Epidural Steroid Injection on April 23. He will do all three discs. He said this targets the nerves. While I've been happy to have some sense of normalcy, I've also come to realize that all this stuff is just masking the cause of pain.

So.. I'm wondering if anyone knows is these injections will actually "cure" me? Or will my tears still be there and I'm just "managing the pain" with the injections.

I don't know. I'm just thinking that if I put off having the 3 level fusion, or put off trying the stem cell transplant, will the discs just continue to get worse... Even though the pain is being managed. Thanks for any comments/reflections.
Deb

 
Old 04-03-2013, 08:10 AM   #2
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Stem cell transplant?

The injections are for pain and inflammation relief. They help give soft tissue, incl discs, a chance to heal themselves.

I can't comment on whether your discs will continue to get worse. There is no info as to the cause or general spine condition and health.

As long as you are walking and have control of bodily functions and respect your limitations, surgery can always be put off. I was first told lumbar fusion was needed or inevitable 30 years ago, and 4 or 5 times since. Never had that surgery. While still an issue, my lower spine is one of the least of my worries and no doctors are now suggesting that surgery.

Good luck with the injections. Those are one of the less pleasant kinds to get, so I hear. They weren't doing them 15 to 30 years ago when I might have benefitted.

 
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:28 PM   #3
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

I would just like to mention that there are two sides to the surgery question. Sometimes if one waits a long time to have surgery, the surgery is much more difficult and the chances for a successful outcome diminish. Also there is a general rule of thumb that the longer a nerve is left compressed, the greater the chance of nerve damage being permanent.

No one can say what the results will be for the injections. Sometimes it provides just enough benefit that it helps the body mobilize so the disc will heal/tissue will heal. In part it depends on what the issues are.

 
Old 04-03-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

Thanks to both of you for responding. Teteri66, I know you're in my corner as one of the successful triple lumbar fusions. I guess I'm just trying to exhaust all my options.. And beginning to question the inevitable. My saga continues. 😄

 
Old 04-04-2013, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

[QUOTE=grover771;5156477]Hi all,
So I've been managing my back pain pretty well with norco, Lyrica. Meloxicam and a portable TENS unit. I'm able to sit for a longer period of time... Which is helpful, as I've been having to travel to conferences these last few and next 10 days.

I am scheduled for a bilateral Transforimnal Epidural Steroid Injection on April 23. He will do all three discs. He said this targets the nerves. While I've been happy to have some sense of normalcy, I've also come to realize that all this stuff is just masking the cause of pain.

So.. I'm wondering if anyone knows is these injections will actually "cure" me? Or will my tears still be there and I'm just "managing the pain" with the injections.

I don't know. I'm just thinking that if I put off having the 3 level fusion, or put off trying the stem cell transplant, will the discs just continue to get worse... Even though the pain is being managed. Thanks for any comments/reflections.
Deb[/QUOTE]

Debi, what's your diagnosis? Any sciatic nerve root pressure, or is it deteriorating discs?

 
Old 04-04-2013, 06:21 PM   #6
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

I'm wondering if you could go to Clearwater? I know it isn't too far from Tampa. There is a surgeon there that I highly recommend. His name is Richard G. Pigeon. He trained at Yale and is a very compassionate doctor who listens carefully. You might find a consultation with him useful before reaching any decision.

 
Old 04-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #7
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Smile Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

[QUOTE=CT06405;5157262]Debi, what's your diagnosis? Any sciatic nerve root pressure, or is it deteriorating discs?[/QUOTE]

Discogram confirmed grade 5 annular tears in L3 through S1 ( all three). Neurosurgeon said I need (but suggested I look for alternatives) 3 level fusion. No sciatic pain, but PM doc DID confirm that the heaviness and weakness in my right upper thigh was also indicative of another symptom of L3 and L4 problems. And that that was "my version" of sciatic pain. For what that's worth. I'd had that pain for a year!

My pain is nerve pain..

Teteri66, keeping this recommendation handy. Thank you for the recommendation.

 
Old 04-04-2013, 06:48 PM   #8
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

It is very surprising that you don't have sciatic pain. L4, L5 and S1 nerve compression almost always results in sciatic pain. Please do not rely on one neurosurgeon's opinion, if considering a multi-level fusion. You may find quite a difference in solutions to your problems.

 
Old 04-04-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

I agree with Teteri. I'd get several more opinions. Most doctors that I've seen told me that discs will shrink, dry out and calcify as we get older anyway, so those annular tears may not cause a need for fusion and may start to feel better over time. I know several people who had disc problems that eventually went away. A 3-level fusion is a bit drastic unless those discs are collapsing or your pain is very severe.

Personally, I'd consider surgery to relieve nerve compression and save the sciatic nerve - but your L3-L4 compression causing the thigh sensation could possibly be helped by microsurgery of some kind rather than a fusion.

 
Old 04-11-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

Hi I live in Manchester UK & my daughter has had the Epidural injection & tells me that although it hurt like hell it works for 3mths then she has to go for more . I hope this helps some what

 
Old 04-11-2013, 11:54 AM   #11
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

[QUOTE=teteri66;5157276]It is very surprising that you don't have sciatic pain. L4, L5 and S1 nerve compression almost always results in sciatic pain. Please do not rely on one neurosurgeon's opinion, if considering a multi-level fusion. You may find quite a difference in solutions to your problems.[/QUOTE]

I know, sometimes I just want to wear a sign that says, "no... I don't have sciatic pain!"

The PM doc said though, that the heaviness is also a symptom.. So who nows.
I've been at a conference all week, and been able to manage with the TENS on constantly and the pain Meds.

 
Old 04-11-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
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Smile Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

[QUOTE=Mathlian;5160481]Hi I live in Manchester UK & my daughter has had the Epidural injection & tells me that although it hurt like hell it works for 3mths then she has to go for more . I hope this helps some what[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the info.. I'm hoping they help too and counting the days.

 
Old 04-15-2013, 10:59 AM   #13
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

I have stenosis, have had the MILD procedure (mixed results, dueto arthritis deposits) I periodically have t he epidural injections, also with mixed results.
Can you tell me what help you have had with the TENS units? I understood that
it relieves pain ony so long as you are running the unit. Is that true?

I can't take opiates, so my pain remedies are very limited. It also keeps me from
schedulign surgery, as I don't know how I would be able to tolerate the post-op pain,
without strong pain relief.

 
Old 04-15-2013, 04:50 PM   #14
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

Sorry to hear about your back problems.. We are in a group that no one wanted to be in, that's for sure!

I have to say tge TENS unit has really helped, but you're right... Only as long as I have it on. In fact, I used mine constantly all day and I think I "killed it!" It stopped working halfway through a flight home last night. I've been on ice packs all day. I ordered another one though, as it was wonderful. At least allows me to function at work until we decide my next steps after injections. Hope that helps.

 
Old 04-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #15
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Re: New question regarding epidural injections and healing?

So sorry you're having all this trouble. I too have severe stenosis and have been
having the epidurals as often as it is allowed. Do not be deceived. These
CANNOT cure--they are palliative only. I don't want surgery so this is my only
real option. And, it's always a crap shoot as to whether the epidural works.
I've had a few that were great, and two that did not help at all. Still, it's all there is.
I can't take opiates, aspirin or ibuprofen, so I'm stuck with Tramodol & Tylenol.

 
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