My primary care doc has referred me to a pain care doctor. Basically she is telling me that I need epidural injections for disc bulging in my neck. Just wondering three things.........
1. how bad do they hurt, can you be asleep during the procedure.
2. do they make you gain weight and/or water weight, make a person look all puffy like cortisone & steroids?
3. If I wait and hold off (because I'm not sure the pain is bad enough yet), will it harm my chances on the epidurals working later on, when I really really am in full-blown pain?
Thanks for all your help. Finding a doctor that will actually take the time to answer my questions has been tough.
The ESIs I had didn't really hurt all that much, but I would still describe them as uncomfortable. The doctor injects a numbing medication as he/she goes in, so there's not really any pain, but more if an uncomfortable pressure. I have read that some docs will offer some sedation, but I do not think that it is typical. They are pretty quick, which makes it easier to get through the discomfort. I don't really know about 2 & 3. They didn't make me gain any weight, but others might have had a different experience.
Welcome to the board, Skhinz, I've had a few epi's in the last few years. So I think I can answer your questions. I've had them with and without sedation, I prefer without. It's painful but nothing that can't be handled and the sedation is a bother to me and whoever I can talk into driving me to and from. I don't think putting it off will make any difference in how it will work in the future. I don't know why you would want to wait. I've never had any steroid type of side effects from the injections. I think the fat face and all that comes from a long term, constant supply in your system like from oral meds. I hope I've answered your questions. Good luck.
welcome to the board and I will try and answer your questions for you. First off I had 2 epidural steriod injections but they were at the very low end of my spine and those are in a rather tender area so those kind of hurt, well the first one did because they hit a nerve going in, but the second one was not too bad. They gave me a Valium before the procedure so I was pretty relaxed and almost didn't care when they went to put the needle in. I would recommend doing this sooner than later so that you can possibly fend off any "chronic pain" developing. Trust me you DO NOT WANT CHRONIC PAIN and many, many people here can offer that sentiment. If you can prevent the pain from getting worse, then I would highly suggest doing it now. A PM doc can also help you possibly with meds should the epidurals not work, if they are the kind of PM doc that do prescribe meds. They can also offer different options should the epidurals not work and can do SO MUCH MORE than your PCP doctor can.
Most people don't have much of a reaction to the steriod injection. The only thing I noticed is that I didn't sleep as well the next few days but maybe that was not due to the injection. That is about all that I can think of but welcome and I feel free to post whenever you like and give us an update with what you decide and if they help
Last edited by brianpain33; 04-24-2008 at 08:13 PM.
Since November I had 6 epidural shots and Radio Frequency done. The place I go sends a car to pick you up and then they drive you home. This way you don't have to have anyone take you. They knock you out which is nice. Years ago I had them done awake and did not like it. They give you very little anesthesia. You are in the room 10 minutes I think. You wake up very fast. They do under Florascope. They give you donuts and a drink and home you go. The first series of shots did not hurt at all. I couldn't even tell I had them done. The second series of shots hurt a little. They were Facet injections. (think that is what they are called). The Radio Frequency hit me a few days after the procedure. It seems like my pain is worse after each procedure. But they told me from the beginning that with all the rods and screws there was only a 50 percent chance it would work. My place takes whatever the insurance pays. They give me my meds. I think because of my surgery that it won't help me. But, I'm glad I tried.
Thanks everyone. I just am not sure what I am going to do, but all your answers to my questions definately helped. I just like to know what people think of it all, not just the doctors opinions. Thanks again!
Hi Skhinz, I have had 2 epidurals so far and am due for a third one soon. I also have a bulging disc in the C-5, C-6 area of the neck. I dealt with horrible headaches for years, daily, i MUST HAVE TAKEN UP TO 4-5 800 MG OF IBUPROFEN DAILY TO DEAL WITH THEM. Finally after 13 years of pain, I got an MRI which of course came the diagnosis. The epidurals were not painfull at all, they were so quick I hardly knew I had one. And, after one epidural, my headaches were gone, not completely, and after 2 epidurals, they are almost completely gone. I am hoping after the third one, they will completely go away. So, I would strongly recommend them for you, let us know how you are doing...
I had 6 total procedures done for degenerative disc disease in the C4, C5, C6, C7 region two of which were classified as Epidural Injections of the nerves connecting the Facet Joints.
They start an IV in the prep area and they roll you into the OR where they are going to do the procedure. My Pain Doc only did one side at at time so I'm guessing you have one more procedure to complete after this one. They numbed my area and then inserted three large needle guides in my upper back under Floroscopy. They then inserted the steroid needle in each medial branch nerves and released the juice.
This is a rather unpleasant procedure but like everyone else says, it is more of an unconfortable pressure than an ache. You will feel a little pain as they enter the nerve but is short lived.
This procedure did not help my pain at all nor did the Radiofrequency Medial Branch Nerve Abolations help either. My insurance concidered the Radiofrequency experimental and would not pay. I am still paying on the $7000.00 bill. It helps some people, so it's pretty much up to you and your doctor as to what you want to do.