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Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

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Old 08-12-2004, 10:29 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 21
Mayne HB User
Question Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

I have suffered from a stiff neck for some years now and have recently been diagnosed with arthritis in C5 & C6. In order to sleep at night I have to take sleeping tablets or otherwise I keep waking up and have great difficulty moving my neck and head because my neck muscles go into spasm.
The specialist recommended nerve root injections on the two levels which are scheduled to take place on 17th August. I am very concerned about the pain that may be associated with these injections, the medication that may be contained in the injections themselves and also whether I will obtain any long term relief in the long term anyway.
The only other course of action would be fusion of these discs - which the specialist says will happen naturally over time.
Has anyone experienced this and would you recommend the injections???

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Old 08-13-2004, 12:55 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,128
carol632 HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

Hi, and welcome to the boards. I am sorry about the problems you are having, and understand as I also have arthritis in my neck. They tried to inject me, but the space was too small so I ended up with fusion. I have had lumbar injections though. I think everyone experiences them differently; I never found them particularly painful and at any rate, it only takes a short time to do them. If you are in a lot of discomfort afterwards, try using ice on the area.
As for whether they work, again, it is an individual thing. Some people get loads of relief, some get none; most get something out of them. But remember, they are only a band-aid and won't "fix" the problem.

I hope that someone who has more experience with the cervical ESI's will be along to help.

2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

Old 08-13-2004, 03:12 PM   #3
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

This subject feels worn out but okay, (shots versus no shots)

read the online publication, The Burton Report and then only you can make the decision.

Is your neck problem as result of an injury, disc herniation, DDD, bone spur, nerve involvement?

Have you got numbness in your arm? hand? fingers? Pain in those areas?

Skip the shot, and ask a Neurologist for an EMG. This will further diagnose your problem.

No on is going to say that the shots don't hurt. They do. If you are going to do it anyway, make sure that they do it with a flourescope and hit the right spot. As for what is in them, ask the doc, before he even starts, to give you in package insert. If it says cortisone, then I, personally, would back off.

What does your MRI state? Have you had one? Has he tried every other conservative measure?
oral anti-inflammatory
non-narcotic meds
light narcotic meds
muscle relaxers

The shot should come AFTER all of this, if at all.

just my take on things. good luck

Old 08-13-2004, 04:19 PM   #4
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Location: Australia
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Mayne HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

Thank you for your responses.
I have tried all of the anti-inflammatories and cannot tolerate them.
Have tried heat/ice and many years of physiotherapy to get temporary relief when the muscles have siezed up so tight I couldn't move properly.
I get related shoulder pain and some pins and needles in my hand.
They have taken ordinary XRays, and is it MRI?? where they slide you into a big machine and you have to wear ear plugs for the noise?? (Sorry I just can't remember the name of the scan). It showed very clearly where the vertebrae were out of alignment and encroaching on the nerve canals and also where the squishy part between the vertebrae had collapsed and partly herniated and the bones were rubbing together.
I would love to feel like I could relax my neck muscles but it never happens - it always feels stiff and creaky. I am forever stretching my neck to keep it from siezing up.
I just don't know if these injections are going to be worth the obvious pain and money.

Last edited by Mayne; 08-13-2004 at 07:32 PM.

Old 08-14-2004, 07:01 PM   #5
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

What did the MRI say? Did you get a copy?

Are the herniations causing the pain? Is the stuff leaking out and irritating your nerves? Have you had an EMG? That would be the next step, to see if it is a nerve. I would set this up with a Neurologist.

[COLOR=Red]"I don't know if these injections wil be worth the obvious pain and money".[/COLOR]

Not to mention the damage they cause.

Have you tried muscle relaxers? Or how about Neurontin? There are some who swear by it for nerve pain.

Soma works great in our household. Flexeril is good also.

With the bones rubbing together, that is arthritis. See if you can get some samples of Bextra. That might work.

Have you tried massage?

Old 08-15-2004, 03:17 AM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 21
Mayne HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

I haven't heard of those medications you mentioned.
Perhaps I know them under another name? (I am in Australia)
No, I don't think the herniations are causing pain - it is the stiff neck and the constant headaches that wear me down - I just can't get away from it.
I have tried massage and physiotherapy for some time now but they only provide very temporary relief.
I have often wondered about muscle relaxants but the doctor has never prescribed them - she said nothing that was available would work which seen a bit strange to me.
One thing that has come out of me talking to everyone on this forum is that I will definitely be cancelling the nerve root injections which were scheduled for Tuesday. Then I will be able to get all my Xrays back.
Next thing will be to go back to my doctor see about the medications you have mentioned here - I think I need a plan to manage the problem - so if you could possibly tell me the active ingredients in them and what they are designed to treat I would be most appreciative. Thanks again, Mayne

Last edited by Mayne; 08-15-2004 at 03:19 AM.

Old 08-15-2004, 05:08 PM   #7
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Root Injections

Mayne: You have to be agressive with your doctors. Ask for muscle relaxers. Some of them are addictive. Some are not. You have to try a few to see which ones work for you. Some will upset your stomach.

As you live in another country, you wil want to go to a medical site and research them by the names listed here. They should give you a breakdown of the ingredients.

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