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Old 03-23-2007, 08:12 PM   #1
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moonchaser HB User
Nervous about my next steps...

Went back to see my Dr. today, after completing 4 more weeks of physical therapy with a McKenzie trained PT. (My Summary - I have cervical spinal stenosis and protruding disc. Weakness/tingling in left hand, spine "locks" up regularly, pain from neck to mid-thoracic spine).

I'm feeling really disappointed with myself now, as trying it again with a "McKenzie" trained therapist didn't help one bit. Actually, some of the McKenzie exercises made me worse, and we had to stop those treatments altogether to go a more traditional route. I did everything they asked to the letter, and believe me, they restricted me from just about everything.

So today, the doctor suggested epidural steroid injections as the next step. I'm scared - I've never had an epidural but I've read about some of the risks on the internet. The doctor assured me she has a qualified doctor in mind to do it, not some dude who gives shots out of the back of a mini-van or anything like that. But she also explained it is a fairly serious next step - albeit for me it sounds like the only way I'll get any relief. I think I need to do this - my symptoms and pain are progressively getting worse. I notice new stuff, like tingling in my right hand now too. And I know that's not good.

Can you share your experiences with epidural steroid injections? All I know is it's a big needle, will hurt somewhat, and I can't drive myself there. She said I'll have to take it easy for two or three days afterwards, and may not get relief immediately. And oh yeah, she told me I shouldn't experience any additional weight gain, so if there's a bright side I guess that's it. What else do I need to worry about or expect?

Moonchaser

 
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Old 03-23-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

Hi, Moon,
I thought that an epidural was really just to help with the pain issue, and was less effective with the neurological symptoms (like tingling, numbness, clumsiness). Did you hear about that? Did the dr. talk about surgery as an option?
I have very similar symptoms and diagnosis, by the way. And I also felt that PT was more harmful than helpful.

Take care,
Lisa

 
Old 03-23-2007, 08:47 PM   #3
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

Hi I had two series of epidurals, they tell you can get relief in one but the majority of people need 3. None hurt as they had me knocked out

In fact trigger point injections hurt a whole lot more as I was awake for those.

The first epidural I had immediate but not total pain relief. 1 month later next injection very good and then another month I had 3rd and I had total pain relief...for about 6 months. Then insurance changed went to new pain mgment dr. had another series and no relief at all. Is it the Dr.s skill or had I passed the point of help...I do not know. At that time I had very little tingling in 1 finger and very little of that so it wasn't an issue. Never had numbness. I have since had the surgery.

Good luck and you are doing the right thing researching your options.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 08:48 PM   #4
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

I had an epidural steroid injection in early February prior to moving forward with ACDF surgery. It was pretty uneventful. Of course they go over all of the risks involved, but the doctor I went to was a pain management specialist and performs thousands of them each year. I was given two valium prior to the procedure and don't remember much of anything. I didn't have any type of symptoms following the procedure. It did not work for me, and I subsequently had to have surgery, but I think it is worth a try as they do work for some people.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by poopoopadoop View Post
Hi, Moon,
I thought that an epidural was really just to help with the pain issue, and was less effective with the neurological symptoms (like tingling, numbness, clumsiness). Did you hear about that? Did the dr. talk about surgery as an option?
I have very similar symptoms and diagnosis, by the way. And I also felt that PT was more harmful than helpful.

Take care,
Lisa
If I understood right (and it's soooo possible I didn't), when the injection is made it involves an anesthetic, followed by the steroid. They do it using a live x-ray machine to guide them, to ensure they don't puncture your spinal canal or something catastrophic like that. (Isn't that a comforting thought? ) I think she said the steroid would lessen the inflammation. I then made the tie in myself that if it lessened the inflammation from the nerves, then not only should my neck and back muscles loosen up, but I also assumed the tingling would go away too. The tingling is a result of the nerves being irritated as they come out of the openings from the spine. In my case, the stenosis makes those openings really small.

So to answer your question, I don't know for sure. We haven't spoke about surgery yet. She said I am way too young to be having the problems I'm having (I'm 38) and we'll talk about surgery as a last option only. I'm praying I won't need it! I really want my life back. With spring here, it's killing me knowing I'm not able to ride my horses like I want to.

About PT - I did a long round prior to this most recent 4 week stint. I absolutely loved my first PT. He was great and did help me a lot. It just didn't stick and the symptoms quickly returned. The Dr. insisted I try her McKenzie specialist this time. McKenzie therapy has a great rep - I happen to be in the minority that it doesn't work for. Lucky me.

 
Old 03-23-2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by julyg View Post
Hi I had two series of epidurals, they tell you can get relief in one but the majority of people need 3. None hurt as they had me knocked out

In fact trigger point injections hurt a whole lot more as I was awake for those.
They knocked you out for it? I'm jealous! I was told today that I would be given a mild sedative if I needed it to help me relax, but would be awake. That's part of why I worry about this - I have never been a fan of needles. I keep picturing this big darning needle being jabbed just below the base of my neck!

 
Old 03-23-2007, 09:17 PM   #7
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

I wan't technically "knocked out" when I had my epidural, but the sedative (in my case 20 mg of valium) was enough that I really don't remember much of what happened.

 
Old 03-24-2007, 08:14 AM   #8
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Re: Nervous about my next steps...

I also had a sedative where I have no memory of the epidural. Mine helped me somewhat, but I had bone spurs too, which of course it didnt help. I finally got ACDF in Jan.

 
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