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Moonstar22 09-24-2014 12:34 PM

Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
I am scheduled for a Nerve Block at S1 to S3 a week from tomorrow.
(Oct 2nd) and I am very scared! I have had a lot of painful procedures and this one is being added to the list. I've not had one before so I don't know the pain involved in having it which I believe is causing my fear.

Then I need to schedule a CT Myelography of my thoracic & lumbar. Someone told me it's like having a spinal tap. I haven't had either so again, I don't know how painful these procedures are so, again, it scares me to death.

I hope some people here can explain these to me in as much detail as possible if you've had them done. Any responses I am grateful for.

Ima_chick_n 09-24-2014 05:00 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
I never had either of these procedures so I cant be much help to you. But I'm definitely experienced at feeling scared about a procedure. ;) I'll be praying for you and I hope that you find someone who can explain the procedures to you so you'll feel a little less scared.

Thank you for all the support you gave me when I was so scared about my epidural steroid injection. If it wasn't for you and all the other helpful users out there I probably wouldn't have been able to go through with it and I wouldn't be feeling better today. THANKS!!!!

Ruffdogster 09-25-2014 03:28 AM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Both are a piece of cake. Small needle *****, inject medicine and you're done! If you're that worried get sedated, you won't feel a thing. I have had close to 30 of these over the last 20 yrs and get them with no sedation. A good anesthesiologist will be in and out in 2 minutes. Good luck!

ChuckStr 09-25-2014 10:58 AM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
With fluoroscopy guided injections it's probably ok to be sedated if you prefer. Without fluoroscopic guidance there is a higher risk of complications if you are sedated because you can't give indications of pain etc.

What is the purpose of the nerve blocks? Is it trying to isolate the source of pain or treat pain? Nerve block procedures are pretty simple. You lay on your stomach. The way I've seen this, is a technician gets you set up for the x-ray fluoroscopy so the image is showing correctly. The Dr (radiologist, physiatrist, anesthesiologist etc), sterilizes the injection site and places the injection with the help of the fluoroscope so it goes as close to the nerve as possible. You'll probably feel some pressure but only the initial poke hurts if the Dr knows what he/she is doing. At least that was my experience. This will be repeated for each area. The injections may be staggered if they are trying to figure out which nerve is causing the issues.

Why are they doing a myelogram? Is the MRI not clear or obstructed by metal from your previous surgery? I ask because it's not commonly performed anymore unless the patient cannot have an MRI for some reason. I've never had that done but my brother had it done recently. The procedure is similar to the nerve block but they had him on a rotating table with his lower body tightly strapped to the table. After set up, the radiologist injected some anesthetic into the injection area (not into the dura). The Dr used fluoroscopy to guide the needle with the water-based contrast into the dura of my brother's spinal cord. They then rotated the table for about 15 minutes. They had him lay flat for about 10 minutes or so and that was it. He said the only thing that hurt was the initial numbing injection and he felt a lot of pressure when they injected the dye but it didn't really hurt. The whole thing took about 1/2 hour.

Good luck and let us know how it goes...

Moonstar22 09-25-2014 01:55 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Thank you for your responses ......ChuckStr...yes the nerve block is with

fluoroscopy. It's being done for pain relief, (hopefully) in my thighs, left side of butt and down the back of my left leg where I sometimes get shooting pains. My PM Dr is doing it, he's also a anesthesiologist. There will be 3 injections. I had a discogram & scared it will all hurt like that did. "Yikes"

I still have chronic pain across my lumbar and nothing has been suggested for that & I wish they would!! My lumbar pain is my worst pain, maybe some of the medicine will go up towards that'm sure it probably won't.

As for the myelogram, for my thoracic, the MRI is not clear enough for the neurosurgeon to see exactly where the cyst is. He can't see if it's inside the cord (dura?) or on the outside of it.

For the lumbar, he can't see hardly anything except hardware (lots of it) so he wants to see if there will be a clearer view while I'm having thoracic done, he included the lumbar. Maybe he'll be able to see if I'm fusing or nerves or something.

Plus I have to get a special blood test 2 to 3 days before the myelogram.

Is there a lot of radiation with a myelogram? I heard they make you lay still for a while after words so you don't get a bad head ache! From them shooting the dye in the spine. scared scared scard!!!

I am just very scared of the pain these may cause.

Thanks Ruff & Imachick & ChuckStr

ChuckStr 09-27-2014 05:31 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Well, they use the nerve block to diagnose which roots are involved when there is unequivocal evidence on MRI, so I think you are out of luck with the medicine travelling to other roots.

If the MRI isn't clear the myelogram makes sense. It should give a good view of the roots and let him see the cyst and the surgery site more clearly. A spine CT has radiation equivalent to about 2 years of background radiation exposure. This increases your risk of dying from cancer about .02%, a very small addition to the 20% risk everyone has. THey made my brother lie for only about 10 minutes. I've heard of others having to lie still for longer.

Good luck!

Moonstar22 09-30-2014 08:42 AM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
I spoke to my doctors nurse yesterday and the nerve block is a[B][U] facet joint [/U][/B][B][U]nerve block [/U][/B]which is being done this Thursday Oct 2nd. She reassured me that the 3 injections are Nothing compared to a discogram so I feel a little better about it but still very nervous. I have been poked so many times but it still scares me.

Ok, I scheduled the myelogram, it's Oct 10th and I will be doing the blood test Oct 7th. The lady I spoke with had only a little info. She said she believes, before & after the test I will be sitting up and after I have to stay there 2 to 3 hours after. She also said someone has to be with me there and for 24 hours after. *** I have no one *** A paratransit service I use only gives rides, not help and she said No, someone has to be right there with me!
She gave me the number to talk to the radiologist so that's what I am going to do shortly. I need all the correct info!

I am still very scared about the shot in my spine for the dye they inject and now more scared about a spinal head ache. Plus I thought you lay down, not sit up???
We'll see after I talk to the radiologist.
I hate the fear, it drives me nuts. :eek:

Ruffdogster 09-30-2014 11:19 AM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Relax not everyone gets a headache from the procedure. You will be fine, don't get yourself worked up, find a neighbor who can be with you afterwards it takes about 12 hrs. for the dye to leave your body, drink lots of fluids and don't do a lot of bending and you should be fine. After mine my daughter drove me home and I cut the grass with no problems. I am 2 wks. post op for my second fusion c5-6 6-7 and I am puttering around the house, cutting the grass, I drove short errands. as you can see I'm not one to let this get to me. I do what I can while I feel good and stop if I over do something. I'm a Doctors worse patient, because I can't just sit around for 6 wks. and do nothing. I am also on my wife's chit list too! So relax and wait till the procedure is over before you worry yourself to death over nothing . Let us know how you do.

Moonstar22 09-30-2014 05:55 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Well said Ruff. I am a worry wart for sure...the fear of the unknown.

I can't believe you cut the grass right after having surgery! That's remarkable!
Just keep in mind........what you already know.

I need a 2nd fusion on my neck on the level above, it's now compressing on my spinal cord. The neck surgery is nothing compared to my back surgery...NOTHING !!!

I'm glad you said not everyone gets a head ache. I don't get many anyway so hopefully I'll be one who doesn't. Also I spoke to the radiologist today and I feel better. I will be laying down, not sitting up, glad I confirmed since the scheduler really doesn't know what she's scheduling!

Thanks Ruff for the positive support! ;)

teteri66 10-05-2014 11:57 AM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Sometimes a second fusion is necessary because the patient does not follow the surgeon's post-operative instructions....I don't know about anyone else but I go into a spine surgery vowing to do my best to make it a success so I won't have to do it again. I find that many surgeons are too lenient in what they tell patients they may do in the immediate weeks post surgery.

Did you have the tests?

Moonstar22 10-05-2014 12:36 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Hi teter,
as for my 2nd cervical fusion, it's not because I didn't follow directions, I most certainly did because I didn't want to have a 2nd one. I had a neurosurgeon do my neck. My 2nd opinion was a Orthosurgeon and he recommended that all 4 levels be fused. The Neuro wanted to go with a 2 level based on loss of motion. If I knew then what I know now, I would have had all 4 done! It's all a educational experience, for me anyway. I also go in with a positive attitude!

I had the facet joint nerve block, S1 to S3 & Cluneal done this past Thursday and WOW, what relief I have. I never thought the pain in my lower lumbar area would ever go away! I felt like it's the 1st time I could breathe. I felt happy from the deepest part of my soul. Not having that constant and jolting pain was like a miracle! My pain level went from a steady 6 down to about a 3. I wanted to jump up & get things done around the house that I haven't been able to do in over a year & a half. NO, I didn't dare.....resting, relaxing and taking it easy is what I've been doing. Following Dr's orders.

His nurse told me that if this worked in reducing my pain, next would be a ablation. The only thing I really know about that is that they kill those nerves. Do you have more detailed info on how that is done? Pain involved, recovery, etc? You seem to be quite educated with so many things I've read in these forums.

The myelogram is this Friday and I'm still nervous about it.

My pain level today seems to be increasing a bit, I hope it doesn't come back too quick!

teteri66 10-05-2014 05:48 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
I was just making a general comment, not directed to you! Kudos for resisting the urge to do all those undone tasks!

The doctor I went to made his patients stay off their feet for 72 hours after an ESI to give the steroid the maximum chance to work.

The ablation will be a similar procedure to a nerve block or ESI. It will be done under fluoroscopy and the needle will be able to deliver an electrical current to the offending nerve. It will be zapped so that it will no longer be able to send pain messages to the brain. Since the nerve is not destroyed but just "dismantled" it will eventually regenerate and the procedure may need to be repeated at some point in the future. If it takes away the pain, most people are happy to repeat the procedure!

Moonstar22 10-06-2014 01:44 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Thanks teter,
with the ablation, do you know how long the reduction in pain might last?
Also, are you sedated for this procedure? It sounds very painful compared to the nerve block! I didn't know about the nerves regenerating, I haven't read about that procedure yet, very interesting.

istitch4ever 10-06-2014 02:14 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Hello Moonstar22,
You've had some wonderful support in all your questions regarding your upcoming procedures. I think your medical people are going to calm you immediately once you get going with your procedures on Friday. Our medical folks in all our places these days are just so great -- and those big smiles on their faces and helpful tones are going to be calming to you right away. The moment you tell them you are nervous about it (and it's okay to be honest with them) they will be happy to share ways to help calm you down. You aren't the first one on the bed to be nervous about having a procedure. If you don't understand something, just reask right away -- and those nice folks are gonna help you out right away. They will prep you for that doctor so well you will be as calm as can be. Doctors these days tell you about every little thing they are doing before it comes at you -- so if the first little needle that is going to numb you is going to bring some burning, he/she will tell you. Also, they probably will rub the skin just a tad like a good dentist does and you may not even feel it. After that, you possibly may not feel a thing. The purpose of a block is to block.............and block it it will. Once the mylogram starts they may have to tilt you a tad -- but they will tell you everything before it happens -- they will tell you how many minutes they are going to have to do it -- they will talk to you -- you can talk to them -- ask them their name -- ask them how long they have worked at the hospital -- ask them where they were born -- get your mind off what is happening to you -- find a way to get off being scared --

The moment you are done -- the nurses and techs will probably turn you over with some pretty strict directions about NOT lifting your head.....that's where the headaches might come. They'll be good to you -- because it's over you might get a room of your own, a friend/husband/family member can come/you can sleep/you can relax -- or that might be the time where they take the CTscan...which is a lie still scan and let it happen.

Ablations can be a wonderful tool -- at a later time. They actually burn the nerve -- so they cannot 'talk' to each other -- which is what causes the pain. You're on your tummy so you cannot see the needles. -- The numbing agent keeps you calm -- and you can ask for more at any time it is uncomfortable. I have degenerative disc disease and I've used ablations about 6 to 7 times. My pain specialist is superior at them -- and although he does his best, he knows he doesn't always 'hit the right' two nerves that are doing the worst 'conversation' when insurance allows, he tries again.

I wish you the best of the best for Friday -- with pictures that help your doctors tell exactly what they need to know. Mylograms are more precise than MRIs.

Moonstar22 10-06-2014 03:11 PM

Re: Upcoming Nerve block, & CT Myelography, scared to death
Wow istitch4ever, what a wonderful post that was, so supportive! Thank you very much!:angel: That was very comforting!

I'm a lot calmer now about the myelogram since I just had the nerve block done. I'm most worried about that head ache now. Of coarse I will follow the directions exactly! But you are right, they really are a bunch of very nice people, the group of doctors I see.

As for the nerve block, my pain is creeping back and it's so disappointing. :confused: I wish it would have lasted longer. I actually look forward to the ablation because if I can get that kind of relief that will last a lot longer, I'll do it!!! No Problem. The only thing is if they put a electrical shock type of thing, I'm scared it will hurt really bad.

The nerve block was very painful but this sounds awful. I had no sedation, no nothing. I think my Dr did that so he could tell if he hit the right nerves as I screamed out "owe" (not too loud). Of coarse then, he took pictures from the fluoroscopy machine thing. And it was over & I was ok.

Thank you for such kind words. :wave:

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