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    Old 12-01-2007, 11:42 AM   #1
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    Thumbs up Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    I have read a lot of the postings on here about ESI's but they most they seem to be from the gal's perspective and some interation with their monthlies so I thought I would tell my story. I am a 51 year old accountant (spend most of my time sitting for 30 years.) 5' 10" and 157

    I went for two years with burning pain all the way from the base of my butt to the bottom of my feet. I was taking Niaspan for cholesterol so I stopped that thinking maybe it was neuropathy from that but no help. Also had severe pain in my right foot. First went to an ortho who diagnosed a bone spur in my big toe and some other miscellaneous arthritis in the rest of my foot (flat feet). Gave me cortisone shot in there that helped for a few weeks and have been on NSAIDS for at least 3 years. Then started noticing pretty severe ringing in my right ear and decided I needed to try something else.

    Went to a neurologist who diagnosed nerve inflammation in both legs. CAT scan showed compression with nerve impingment at L1-S5 and S5-S4 with some stenosis and impingment on the sciatic nerve, which explained all the leg pain. I just had the 3rd ESI yesterday. I had them about a week and a half apart. The first one was like a miracle, but only lasted for about a week. The second one didn't last nearly as long, but I drove to my parent's for Thanksgiving (550 miles and back) and I'm sure that didn't help. Today, I am lying in bed on ice on a little Percocet buzz.

    For anyone who is contemplating this, make sure that the dr. that does it uses the fluroscope/dye method so they can put it right where they want. I haven't had any side effects from the steroid itself at all that I can tell. As far as the actual procedure, I took a couple of xanax before I went in so I was pretty mellow. They give you a choice of Versed or not, take the Versed. The procedure is not exactly pleasant, but I've had a lot of worse things done to me medically and with the Versed you really don't give a crap. The xylocaine or whatever local they give you first keeps you pretty pain free for about the first 6 or 8 hours. The second day you are pretty sore (that's why I get them on Friday, you probably don't want to go to work the next day). Based on the first two, I don't expect any miracles. Maybe a few weeks before the burning is back in earnest.

    My main problem is that I can't sit for a long time before the base of my spine starts to throb. I can't stand on my right foot because of the bone spur, and I can stand on my left leg because I had a major spiral fracture of both bones from a ski accident and I have some arthritis in my knee from that. The job I have is pretty intense mentally, so I can't take any pain meds at work. Basically what I do it just tough it out for a couple of days and then when I can't stand it anymore I take a Percocet holiday for an evening.

    I have an appointment Monday to start PT. They have me set up for aquatic therapy, massage, a TENS unit, and a couple of other things. Hopefully some of that will help.

    I think at the end of the day I will need some kind of surgery, but as far as back surgery is concerned, the longer I wait, the more chance there is that the technique will get more refined with less chance of unintended consequenses. My pain doc doesn't seem to be too anal about the pain meds so as long as I can take my little "vacations" I think I can tough it out for now.

    I am really interested in anyone's experience with TENS with this kind of back problem. I have used it for muscle cramps and soreness, but not back.

    I really love these boards. I have been using them for at least 6 years and they really let you know what you are getting into before you make major medical decisions.

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    Old 12-01-2007, 01:37 PM   #2
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    Hi there. I don't think your experience was much different than mine (a female) other than the fact that you were offered versed. I've never been offered anything prior to getting an epidural, nothing at all, nor have I needed one. Maybe I'm lucky, but I can't count how many of them I have had and I've only once experienced any difficulty with soreness or pain afterward.

    You're also very correct that these need to be done under fluoroscopy....too much danger in the possibitlity of it being injected into the wrong spot.

    Here's where I disagree a bit.....when you have nerve impingement to the point that your feet burn and that the pain is constant, you shouldn't delay surgery for a long time. Why? Because the nerve damage can become permanent and then pain will never go away if that happens. I also think that a myelogram would be a good idea to show the nerves more clearly. Surgery should be the last option in most cases, but not when the nerve pain becomes significant. I think it's a good idea to get a second opinion anything the "S" word comes into play.

    Best of luck.

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

    Old 12-01-2007, 07:00 PM   #3
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    Hey there:
    I have similar probs to you (am post-surgery though) and also have a demanding desk job and trouble sitting. Pre-surgery I couldn't sit for more than 20 minutes without feeling like I wanted to chew my legs off. Post-surgery I can sit through the day as long as frequent walks around the office every couple of hours. Still, I lie down as soon as I get home and by Friday, I am a mess. As for the TENS unit, you might find that it helps some but it's by no means a cure-all. I actually wore mine to work and it did help some but in time the level of relief diminished. One trick I learned was that if you're going to wear it throughout the day it helps to change the settings so that you can continue to "fool" your nerves into distracting the pain signals. Hope it helps!

    I'm a year and a half post-surg and the surgery helped tremendously with the leg pain at first. Sadly, I now have some weird inflammation of S1 that is causing the leg pain again. Epi steroids haven't helped, nor has Lyrica and now they want to implant a spinal cord stimulator in me. I'm waiting it out to see if I can manage it with some less-invasive option (whatever that might be).

    By the way I have also done aquatic therapy and it worked wonders for me prior to my surgery. Good luck with that!
    4/2006:TLIF L5/S1
    2002: C4-5 herniation
    1/1999: ACDF C5-C7

    Old 12-02-2007, 10:57 AM   #4
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    Wow!, you were able to get versed, I've had epidurals and I got nothing, absolutely nothing, and the pain was awful, especially getting this procedure done in my neck.
    I'd like to know why some pain docs. don't offer anything before procedures, mine never did, I've endured enough suffering with injection type procedures that I refuse to go through anymore, plus they have never helped me.
    I do hope you find some relief soon, and that you get some good solid answers as to a good treatment for your back, hang in there, and keep us posted as to what happens.

    Old 12-02-2007, 01:31 PM   #5
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    I had central canal stenosis and herniations, with alot of nerve pain, spasms, and claudication. I had tried everything including PT and TENS and other stim, but in my case nothing helped. I actually cant really stand the TENS or other stim as it makes my legs restless & jerky...I have to have it at a very low setting & even then after a few minutes I feel like my legs are going to have a seizure or's kinda hard to explain. But some people find relief from stim and other methods, what works for one doesnt necessarily work for another. Do you know exactly what is causing your nerve impingment? Is it from osteophytes or herniations or something else? Many times herniations may resolve & shrink back over time, though sometimes they dont. If you have osteophytes causing the stenosis, that will never go away without surgical interverntion. I had epidurals and they did help with nerve pain I had from herniations, but it did nothing for the claudication pain. And it is true that the longer you go having all those nerve problems, the more permanent damage may be done. I know for myself I tried everything but my pain progressed alot over 3 and 1/2 yrs until I had no more choice but to have surgery. Even so, surgery is only up to you & you'll know when or if you'll ever be ready, just keep in mind the longer the problem lingers, the more chance of permanent damage.

    Old 12-03-2007, 06:42 AM   #6
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    Most places offer to give you something before your injections , if not Demand it. I threatened to get up and leave before because they wasn't going to give me anything , call me a sissy but I had many and they do hurt some . The nurse came back with Valium that made me relax and it was a breeze .

    When they say 3 a year , do they mean 3 injections or 3 times a year ? I'm puzzled . Anyway hello to you all and hope you all get some relief.


    Old 12-03-2007, 09:10 AM   #7
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    Re: Epidural Steroid Injections-Male Perspective

    [QUOTE=Tulip15;3332455]Wow!, you were able to get versed, I've had epidurals and I got nothing, absolutely nothing, and the pain was awful, especially getting this procedure done in my neck.
    I'd like to know why some pain docs. don't offer anything before procedures, mine never did, I've endured enough suffering with injection type procedures that I refuse to go through anymore, plus they have never helped me.
    I do hope you find some relief soon, and that you get some good solid answers as to a good treatment for your back, hang in there, and keep us posted as to what happens.

    In 2001 I had the set of 3 shots and then a nerve block. No Versed or anything either. It was horrible. Just laying there with your butt hanging out with a thousand people in the room. Then the pain......... The nerve block really hurt while on the table and they tell you not to move. I just started the series again. Last time was in the hospital and this time at a surgery center. This experience is so much better. First they pick you up and drive you home. A big plus. Then they give you the Versed. All I remember was counting to 4 and then waking up. You stay there 30 minutes after to make sure you are okay. They don't give you a choice. You get the Versed automatically unless there is a reason you shouldn't. Had 2 shots so far. No great relief. Actually more pain. But I'm giving it time. Since I am post op fusion with hardware, there is a chance they won't help because can be scar tissue causing all my pain.

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