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Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

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Old 08-28-2004, 10:26 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
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TexasWildRose04 HB User
Unhappy Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

Hey guys... I go Sept 8th for a consultation about getting a Epidural Steroid Injection.... I would like to have success stories and failure stories... see which outweighs the other... also cause I am kinda freaked about getting it done... have heard bad things about them... but Neuro and Ortho both say I should have it....Let me hear from ya'll... Please??

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Old 08-29-2004, 03:08 AM   #2
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Voguegirl HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

Hi Texas

I suppose I have some experience in this area - having had three ESIs! I have a significant central bulge at L5-S1, with DDD and an annular tear. The first one gave me good pain relief. As this was the first real pain relief I'd obtained, I thought I was cured and did too much too soon. A bad plan! I ended up immobile and in despair. My consultant advised a second one and it really made a difference - I was able to begin exercising, I could sleep again and I was able to cut back on my meds. However sitting and standing were still very painful so I went for my third three weeks ago. That hasn't made any difference and my pain has worsened. I'm back for an MRI on Wednesday and my ortho thinks that the bulge may have increased as my sciatica has worsened and I have constant numbness in my foot. He has mentioned surgery which I am reluctant to have and I'll definitely go for a second opinion.

In summary - two of the ESIs definitely helped in terms of pain relief and have made the last six months more tolerable. I know of other people for whom one injection worked and that was the end of their problem. I had my ESI's without IV, sedation or oxygen - I'm not from the US. While two of them were painful, it was nothing compared to the constant pain I was in. I did some controlled breathing, cursed silently and then it was over!

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Old 08-29-2004, 04:51 AM   #3
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Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

I have had some ESIs in the upper and lower.Also have tried trigger point,and stellate injections as well.The upper was for pain associated with post op surgical pain that i was still having after a fusion in the C-spine.Ten weeks post op and my pain levels were still through the roof.My NS sent me for the series.the first one hurt like hell for about three days(they had told me that I might have an increase in pain for a couple of days)but after day three, i really felt a major difference.I had the next one about two weeks later, the pain was minimal this time around,and same with the third.The relief unfortunetly(which was pretty significant)only lasted about a month,and I was back where I started pretty much.The ESIs done on my lower,were for pain in the R leg and knee and spasticity.The injection helped with the spacticity for about a week,but really did not do anything for the pain.The relief you get with injections is pretty much hit or miss.Some people swear by them,and others really have no relief with them at was nice though to have that little pain vacation on my upper for that time though.Good luck,Marcia
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Old 08-29-2004, 06:20 AM   #4
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scotty12 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

it is one of the first treatments after par for the course.they do help some people ,especially if you have any leg pain.if the dr is an anesthesiologist then i would say its worth a try.if the first 2 dont help then i would consider not having a third.ive had three,no help.

all the negative news you hear,dont let it stop you.there is very little risk involved as a first line treatment.its just that for some dr's injections are a cash cow and they insist on trying them over and over. a good dr will try usually a set of 3 and if no luck wont push for anymore in the future.

too many esis have shown some evidence of causing is considered safe to recieve 3 a all honesty if i had to do it over again i would still give them a try...........good luck,scott

Old 08-29-2004, 08:49 AM   #5
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mel1977 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

they scare me to death.
I had one,just one and that was enough to me. I am terrified of getting another. It didn't work for me, and it was the most painful experience I have had. I don't want another, but I have no choice right now. I am going to ask to be as sedated as possible for this. I have a low threshold for pain, so that is the bigger issue.
I say, it is always worth trying. Don't let my low tolerance for pain stress you out any.

Old 08-29-2004, 09:17 AM   #6
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Ribarb47 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

I had a series of ESI's when I just had bulging disc. It wasn't done with contrast. I had to have an IV because during procedure my BP shot up to 240/120. I didn't find them terribly painful. I now get nerve root injections, same principle, from my Pain Dr.
He uses contrast, and I get a lot of relief. As a matter of fact, I'm the one who calls and asks for them. He now tells me I'm a "no-brainer" Hmmm ~ he knows exactly where to inject, but still uses contrast. I had a discectomy 5 years ago, and have nerve damage, ergo the injections now. I consider mine, successful.~Barbara

Old 08-29-2004, 09:33 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2003
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scotty12 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

if you have very little disc space at the injection level it is extremely painful when they shoot the meds in.the shot itself is not bad but the pressure of injecting meds inbetween collapsed discs was horrible.the first 2 i got werent bad at all but when they did the last shot lower down i must looked like one of those cartoons when someone gets electrocuted,arms and legs shooting out in 4

Old 08-29-2004, 05:50 PM   #8
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aimeetennis HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

I've had both success and failure. Twelve years ago, the 2nd of 3 injections "took" and I got complete relief of my pain. Just this summer I tried 3 again with a re-herniation at the same spot and none of them worked. I would definitely recommend that you at least try them.

Considering the minimal risks of this very routine procedure, the brevity of the injection itself (just a few minutes), and the possibility that you could get relief from the pain that is devastating your life, it's worth it. And, for the most part, they don't really hurt. I always felt more psychologically weirded out by the whole idea of what was happening to me at the time than the pain it actually caused.

My 2 cents, Aimee

Old 08-29-2004, 06:27 PM   #9
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scotty12 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

as painful as the last shot was if there was some belief on my part of possible pain relief i would get another.although i didnt experience any pain relief my leg pain diminished but could just be a coincedence.

most good pain drs offer these injections while sedated as many people are nervous,understandably.

some people can keep their pain down by getting a couple of esi's a year.thats great,thats why its worth a being dependent on meds.

Last edited by scotty12; 08-29-2004 at 06:30 PM.

Old 08-29-2004, 06:48 PM   #10
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injured betty HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

ESI: Three in my shoulder, now have damage. Read The Burton Report, refused any more, ever. Ran into a guy at a yard sale today that was scheduled to have one on Monday. I wrote down the name of the report for him. He went in and read it, came back and said, no way.

The ESI is simply a way for the doctor to tell if you have damage or not. He is looking to see if you are inflammed for a reason or not. If there is a problem that is causing the inflammation then the ESI will give temporary relief at best. If there is not a problem that will be long term and you have just caused some temporary inflammation, then the shot will make the inflammation go away, which would have gone away on it's own anyway, give time.

The ESI is one of the steps that a doctor takes when going by the book. You can refuse it and I do so. My husband refused them for his neck and it got him close to where he needed to be, take out the bone spur that is causing the inflammation.

The pain is caused by inflammation. What is causing the inflammation? If the inflammation is going to be continued because the problem will still be there, then why do it? If the area that is inflammed is pushing on a nerve and you stand to lose function of it, then that is what they need to do, ESI, but I have been told that (3) in a life time is acceptable, not three a year. The Burton Report says that there should be none in a year, I believe.

No one wants to be in pain. If you refuse it then they will offer you an alternative, hopefully one that does not involves steroids.

It is not about the pain that you will feel or not feel when you get it, it is that they are not safe. People will go to any lengths to not be in pain. Why go through something that might not work when there is other medication that is proven to work?

Old 08-29-2004, 08:25 PM   #11
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Spirogyra HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

I spent some time looking up research on ESIs. The big studies (those involving a lot of people) show that there is no relationship between having (or not having) and ESI and ending up needing surgery. A varying percentage of people get some relief, but it is usually short-lived. Of course, some people seem to get entirely better. It may be because of the ESI, it may be placebo, it may be that they would have gotten better without it.


Old 08-30-2004, 05:46 AM   #12
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travitch HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

I just had my third ESI on Friday. All were performed by an anesthesiologist, a different one each time, using a flouroscope and contrast. I may have gotten some relief from the first one but not enough to come off the pain meds. The second one seemed not to actually do anything and my doctor talked about surgery. Though we also discussed that it was better to try and wait it out unless we see evidence of nerve damage. I asked if we could try the third first just to see. I had this same problem almost three years ago and after four months the pain in the leg went away. I was working in Mexico at the time and seeing a local Orthopaedic Surgeon in Mexico. My doctor here in the states tells me that frequently these smaller bulges will subside if given time. The bulge that is causing me problems is not that big only at 3mm. However, it is actually compressing and displacing the L4 nerve root directly. I discussed this with the anesthiologist on Friday and he said that even though the MRI report says mild the fact that it is pushing the nerve root the way it is it can actually be more painful than the lower bulge listed as moderate to moderately sever. The lower bulge is bigger, 4 mm, but no pain so I don't care about it. Hope this helps. And, yeah they can be painful. Especially the first 24 hours after the shot.

Old 08-30-2004, 06:25 AM   #13
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scotty12 HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

any reduction in pain is great,even if it only temporary.i went ahead with my 3rd esi even though my surgeon said he didnt think it would help as the first 2 offered no relief.i figured it was worth a shot.i have read all the studies disputing the safety of esi's but the fact is they do help some people.

if in the other hand you have a pain dr who insists on continuing injections after previous attempts have failed to offer relief then by all means find another dr.
alot of people depend on their pain drs for meds and feel somewhat pressured to go along with any treatment the dr suggests.

it is your body and if you dont feel comfortable or feel procedures are unsafe the dr should be receptive to your concerns.a good dr shouldnt have the my way or the highway attitude but there are drs out there who are exactly like that and if you refuse treatment they dont want you as a patient or they have the attitude that you just want pain meds.

if at this point my dr insisted on more esi's i would find another dr.if 3 shots dont help there is every reason to believe that more shots will do more harm than good.

bulges can and do heal on their own but it could take more than a may not heal at all.istrongly believe that you cannot just rely on medication and hope it will get should continue with exersize and stregnthening and anything else that may improve your condition....scotty

Old 08-30-2004, 07:22 AM   #14
Join Date: Jan 2004
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aerorules HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

If you have a choice of having Xray guidance or not, definately go to a Dr. that uses it. At least you know the shot is in the right place. I have had 6 ESIs. Three of them were without Xray guidance and it was more tramatic than the other three. Overall the shots didn't hurt that bad. It was more of the anticipation of the shot. One of the shots gave me 2 weeks of virtually no pain. A welcome relief even though the pain came back. ESIs are all in the "circle" of treatment and hopefully you will find some relief. Good Luck!

Old 08-30-2004, 07:34 AM   #15
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Kamden HB User
Re: Supposed to get ESI...Success and failure stories wanted... Please?

TexasWildRose, I had two and they didn't touch me, but only because I had a huge herniation. I ended up having to have surgery. I have heard they help some people with bulges. Please make sure they sedate you, then numb you, before giving you the injections. I told them there was no way I would unless this was done because I had read where some people had none of this and the pain was pretty bad. I would never have considered it if this were not the case as with the person who replied before me, some doctors actually use do these without sedation or numbing it. I would insist on this being done first. Good luck to you.

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