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    Old 08-08-2009, 01:27 PM   #1
    p313rk
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    Steroid anti inflammatory

    Hi - My pain management doctor put me on Methylprednisolone for 7 days to see if that will help my severe stenosis (broad baed bulge C5/C6). It seems to be working and my symptons have subsided a bit. I just started taking them 2 days ago. The doctor wants me to follow-up as I notice any changes (positive or negative) and I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on the 21st.

    My question is, if this is helping, what will most likely be the next course of action? I imagine that I can't take this drug forever and I'll still need to get to the root of the problem, which is disc degeneration. So PT is probably in my future?

    I still have the tingling and numbness in my arm/thumb, but the neck pain is much better and I'm taking less percocet.

    So if any of you have been in my shoes, please send a shout out on where you went from here.

    Thanks - you've all been so helpful with your feedback. I can't tell you how much of an education I've received from this site.

    Last edited by p313rk; 08-08-2009 at 01:28 PM.

     
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    Old 08-08-2009, 06:04 PM   #2
    jennybyc
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    Steroids are the most powerful anti-inflammatory there is and are used to reduce swelling in the spinal cord. That is why you feel better. What you need to report is the return of or no return of any symptoms as it will tell your docs if there is swelling in the cord and if an epidural injection of steroids in the area might help(it's placed by catheter right where you hurt the most). If your symptoms don't resolve that much, it shows that the cord is really trapped and can't be made smaller and you need surgery ASAP. That was the first question my neurosurgeon asked....did the epidurals work. I said no and he knew it was time to operate.

    If the steroids do work it might be worth it to try to see if you can get the cord swelling down and put off surgery a little while. But chances are you'll need it sooner or later. The only good thing is that they are making break-throughs in spinal surgery everyday. They can even repair an injury like yours now with no fusion if you can find a doc who does it. It's really new and that would be a reason to wait on surgery.

    But to answer one question you asked....no ...you can't stay on steroids for long. They have MAJOR effects on the body. The aim is to get you off of them ASAP. Injected steroids aren't as bad as the pill form as they stay localized.

    I'm glad you feel better and I'll be interested to hear what happens with the steroid treatment and the effect on your spinal cord.

    gentle hugs.................Jenny

     
    Old 08-13-2009, 09:49 AM   #3
    p313rk
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    Hi Jenny - The steroids have helped with my neck pain and to some extent my shoulder and arm. I've pretty much stopped taking the pain killers. My PM said that the effects should last for another 7 days and will hopefully tide me over to my appointment with my neurosurgeon (which isn't until the 21st).
    The PM is recommending a cortisone epidural and he wants me to discuss this with the surgeon.
    I know nobody likes injections and I have a very severe fear of needles. But at this point, whether it's surgery or an epidural, either one will make me very anxious. I've been combing this site for information from others on this process and their outcomes. And some were positive and others not so much. So I know results will differ from person to person.
    Thanks for your feedback - I'm sure you'll be getting more questions from me

     
    Old 08-13-2009, 01:36 PM   #4
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    If you decide to have an epidural you won't see the needle. They inject into the top of your neck and then thread a thin catheter down the epidural space until they come to the area they think is the worse. At that point they inject a small amount of dye to make sure they aren't touching anything bad and then if it's okay, they inject cortisone into the area so it acts on the swollen/inflamed area in question. You are usually given a sedative to relax you before hand and an IV is put in. But you have to be awake for it, unfortunately.

    I've only had it attempted once and no one told me they had to use a small amount of x-ray dye. I am VERY allergic to x-ray dye(almost killed me as a teen)and I stopped the procedure. The doc let me have it...didn't care. It's my life he was toying with...not his. And besides, he couldn't find an area that wasn't horribly painful so he couldn't do the injection anyhow. They have to find an area that doesn't hurt so they know they aren't on top of a nerve.

    When I saw my neurosurgeon, one of the first things they asked about is what happened when they tried the epidural. I told him and he said that lack of being able to find an area without pain was a sign that I needed surgery. There was too much damage to treat it any other way.

    So see what your surgeon says and I'm glad you are at least more comfortable right now.

    gentle hugs.............Jenny

     
    Old 08-20-2009, 04:02 PM   #5
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    Hi, Thank you for being very thorough on the description of this topic! Yesterday I had my first epidural in my neck between C-7 and C-8. I was surprised that the doctor in the radialogy dept who gave me the injection did inject me between these two disks? I was having problems with severe neckpain that radiats up to the leftside of my head. Usually numbness in the ring and little finger in both of my arms and this would happen when I would be asleep. I am very clumsy with my hands at times and also there are times my feet do not respond as they should like my ankles are to loose or weak to hold my foot in the position as to take a step. I some how look as if I am dragging my feet at times, like the soles of my shoes get stuck upon taking a step to the surface of the pavement? I just had to respond to your discussion? I feel good today but I was in pain in my neck area and any movement of my head today? I was not offered any sedative prior to the injection but I did discuss the uneasiness of any severe pain that I may experience today? So, they must have put a good dose of pain med with the injection because today is bearable!
    Also, I have bone spurs in neck area and there is a narrowing in the neck area. My episodes of severe pain and vomiting must come from the times when the inflammation starts in that area and my body can only react to such pain by a headache, severe stomach quesiness, vomiting! I would have to lay still with a small pillow folded under my neck to support the weight of my head to balance it from the lowerpart of my cervical area until my episodes of sickness would leave which would be 24 to 36 hours later? I also have stenosis in the lower left rib area that attaches to my spine? I hope this is not too long for you guys? I think you all did a good job on this explanation! Thanks and I am seeing if these epidurals will help me to come to a conclussion as to what I will do for better pain relief? christina
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    Old 08-21-2009, 09:50 AM   #6
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    hi christina. i just wanted to give you a real quick FYI here on the specific areas you mentioned you had the injection? you just mentioned in between the "two discs"? i just don't know if you are aware of this or not? all i wanted to let you know here is that while we DO most definitely HAVE that C 8 nerve up there(the ulnar) it does NOT actually have its own vertebrae or therefore its own disc. the next vertebrae that naturally would follow c 7, is the T 1. i honestly was not even aware of this til my own c 8 nerve was starting to get ugly up there and asked questions about the 'disc'. thats when my NS told me it did not have its own vertebrae/disc. its kind of a 'free" nerve in there for some reason. just wanted you to this incase you were not already aware. Marcia
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    Old 08-21-2009, 02:07 PM   #7
    p313rk
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    Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    Hi - Saw my neurosurgeon today and although he said it would be reasonable for me to have surgery, he did not think I needed to make an immediate decision and should seek different opinions. He would do a fusion between my C5-6 with cadaver bone if I elect it.
    So next week I'm seeing my PM again to talk about the injection.
    Right now, I feel okay. I have episodes of tingling, pain and numbness, but not as bad as before and not as constant. Not sure if it was all the steriods or a combination of resting and no exertions.
    I'm so nervious to even think about an epidural or surgery, but realize I have to make a decision based upon me and my expectations.

     
    Old 08-25-2009, 07:15 AM   #8
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    Smile Re: Steroid anti inflammatory

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by feelbad View Post
    hi christina. i just wanted to give you a real quick FYI here on the specific areas you mentioned you had the injection? you just mentioned in between the "two discs"? i just don't know if you are aware of this or not? all i wanted to let you know here is that while we DO most definitely HAVE that C 8 nerve up there(the ulnar) it does NOT actually have its own vertebrae or therefore its own disc. the next vertebrae that naturally would follow c 7, is the T 1. i honestly was not even aware of this til my own c 8 nerve was starting to get ugly up there and asked questions about the 'disc'. thats when my NS told me it did not have its own vertebrae/disc. its kind of a 'free" nerve in there for some reason. just wanted you to this incase you were not already aware. Marcia
    Thanks Marcia, yes I was aware of this? A very interesting area of the spine for sure! Like I said, I was surprised that I got the shot there and not in between C-6 and C-7? How does C-8/T-1 come into play here?? It was my first time and maybe they are trying to narrow the pain and this guy starts in this area?? I don't know, but I have two more epidurels to go! You did a great job explaining this area. Thanks! Christina
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