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Injection or surgery

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Well the second MRI confirmed the herniation at T1/2. Both surgeons say operating to remove the portion that is herniated will get rid of pain in the area. One says I'm not in enough pain for surgery. Other will do surgery but I think he is afraid and wants to make sure any other options are covered first.

So he wants me to go to pain management to see if they can do epidural injections. My understanding after reading about this is that it is only a temporary fix in the case of a herniation because it doesn't get rid of the herniation. If it works it should reduce swelling around the area which might reduce pressure on the nerve root basically from the other side. So the disc still pushes the nerve root but this might let the nerve root move further away.

I'm going back to the neurologist today. I think if I would let anyone do this it would be him not a pain management doctor. There is some questions about whether they can even do injections because of the location and the amount of bone in the way that might screw up the xray. I also don't like the 50% odds of it even working and then that it may not last more than a few weeks.

Right now I'm thinking it's time to schedule the surgery. If I'm going to go through that I might as well do something that both doctors agree will work instead of the injections that are questionable.

So what does everyone think?


  • I would really ask the doctors advice as they are able to look at your films. I had spinal cord compression, so I had to have the surgery. Although, they would not do the surgery until I exhausted all the other options/treatments first. Like PT, tens unit, and several injections.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    based on my personal experiences.

    I always try every possible conservative treatment before going for surgery.
    That would include:
    - Physical Therapy
    - Aqua Therapy
    - Passive Traction
    - Heat/Ice Massage
    - Deep Tissue Massage
    - Spinal Injections (ESI, Trigger, Facet, etc)
    - Acupuncture
    - Ultrasound/Tens
    - Mediation
    - Osteopathic Treatments
    - Aroma/Relaxation Techniques
    - ??

    As you can see there is a long list and I have been through them all, some several times, some I still do. As long as your doctor agrees to conservative plans then I would go that route. If your doctor is not for that path, I would want to fully understand why. They could be some very sound reasons. I would also look to get a second opinion to make sure that both doctors are talking the same thing.

    Lastly, I've been living with several Tx disc herniations. T1 and T2 being two of them. This has been going on for over 5 years now, painful as hell and it took almost 2 full years of various treatments before I can at least manage the pain.
    I am still in pain daily, taking pain medications along with a bunch of other medications, but I am functional. I opted NOT for surgery for two reasons:

    1- Doctors were against it because of the multiple other spinal surgeries I had, they just felt my spine would be too unstable.

    2- Reading how they did the surgery! Ok, that was back in 2005. They went in throught the front, cut open your chest, cracked your breastbone, moved aside a lung to get at the T discs. And there was no good level of confidence it would correct the pain... So, No way.

    Look into everything, see if there is a way to manage your pain levels without surgery. If surgery is the only answer, make sure your surgeon has done thoracic surgeries. You will be surprised at just how many spinal surgeons have never attempted any thoracic surgery

    Good luck
    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
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