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How soon can another ESI be done?

JennyfooJJennyfoo Posts: 81
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi, my name is Jenn. I'm 32, SAHM with 4 special needs kids aged 11, 7, 6, 22 months. I have ankylosing spondylitis(diagnosed this year)and had a L5, S1 discectomy last year: severe rupture with nerve root impingement. I have pretty severe nerve damage as a result of doctors delaying diagnosis and treatment.

4 weeks ago I simply bent over to pick up a toy off the floor, something I do all the time. I felt a horrible, sharp pain, and felt something move in my back. I could tell it was a little higher than my L5 prob. I immediately went to bed in extreme pain and iced and rested for 2 days without improvement, then called my dr. MRI a week later(I hate how long it takes to get things authorized and scheduled when people are in severe pain) revealed a few problems. Referral was sent to neurosurgeon, but I just found out today, that the MRI results were not included. The neuro passed my case off and suggested A course of ESIs. I already am in with a pain mgmt dr. due to the spondylitis, so I was able to get an ESI done rather quickly. I had it last Tuesday, one week ago.

ESI made my back worse. I have more sciatic pain, more shooting nerve pain, and can not get as much relief lying down as before. I followed up with the neurosurgeon today because of ESI failure. After exam, and obtaining MRI readout, he thinks I got the injection in the wrong spot and it agrevated scar tissue and nerve damage from the prior surgery. My problem is a new herniation at T12-L1. He doesn't want to operate due to the inability to access that site from the back. It's a horribly invasive surgery. He wants me to have another ESI at the correct location. Other than that, I'm supposed to lie in bed, flat on my back, with legs raised and alternate ice and heat ... for at least another MONTH. AUGH!

Suffice it to say, I'm already going nuts, having been mostly bedridden for 4 weeks already. My hubby and 11 year old are besides themselves, stressed out, overworked. Hubby works from home, so that's how we've managed this far.

Does anyone know how long I will have to wait to get the ESI done right? I am in so much pain and have been for so long. I just want some relief.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865

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    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    ESI's can be very successful for some and not so great for others.
    Many doctors will tell you 3 in one year is the max.
    I have had them as close as 3 weeks apart. But alot of that depends on your doctor and your station.

    Take a look at what Spine-Health details about ESIs

    ESI Video

    ESI Details
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I read the ESI article. Jennyfoo already had one ESI that was not effective and made things worse. I have had 2 relatively ineffective ESI injections over the last 1.5 months. I am scheduled to have a 3rd and final one soon. According to the article, if the 1st one is not effective, getting more is usually not worth it.

    So, is it recommended that I (or anyone in my position) should just cancel the 3rd injection and maybe try another form of pain management (maybe a nerve block)?
  • My neurosurgeon thinks the ESI was done in the wrong location, not that it won't be effective. It was done 4 discs too low.
  • Jennyfoo said:
    My neurosurgeon thinks the ESI was done in the wrong location, not that it won't be effective. It was done 4 discs too low.
    Oh sorry. I guess I didn't process that part of your comment.
  • I'm sorry you are having so many problems with your back. Obviously, different doctors have different policies...I think many to adhere to the 3 a year, but that varies too. In the city where I live, it is fairly standard to have the ESIs in a series of three, and they are done two weeks a part.

    Since the medicine is going into a different location, I would think you could have it as soon as you can get it scheduled.
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