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Cervical ESI - Yes or No

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Spinal Injections
Okay I'm looking to conduct a poll on ESI for T1/T2 so basically a cervical injection.

Three questions

1 - Have you had it done?

2 - Did it help?

3 - Would you do it for the first time or again or let a relative do it? And why/why not?

Most of what I have read is about the lumbar injections. I'm really on the fence on this one and I know next week the doctors are going to be pressuring me for an answer. So based purely on your personal experience or feelings please answer the questions about. I trust you guys more than most doctors. :)


  • Howdy Kris,

    Like surgery, I will bet you will find this too is a decision each has to make - though of course not to the same degree! :)

    I tried them on my C5/6 and it didn't work for me. My surgeon didn't even visit the idea when my C6/7 went. Would I recommend them, even to relatives? I guess I would let them know what my experience was, and then let them make up their own minds. I have seen on here where some people swear by them. I guess with that stated, it all 'depends' on what we are willing to try to get a break from pain.

    I'll say this too. I kind of remember what I thought when I was first given the script to get them. I was very anxious (happy) that there might be something that could give me a break, so I went to get my first series with much positive thoughts. By the second one (never did the third), those positive thoughts of them and me were gone.

    For most I would gather it is at least worth a try? Have a great day woman!! *Hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I pretty much agree with Brenda.
    My surgeon wanted me to try them. He said he always suggests them before surgery. I had my hopes up so much that they would help me and I was very disappointed. I had one in March and one in April and the PM doctor said there wasn't any use for me to have more. He said my problems are mechanical not inflammatory. Well duh? Still, I would tell anyone that if you're suffering anything is worth a try. I'm still trying my best to avoid surgery. Even knowing that they gave me no relief for my cervical I think I 'may' try them for my lumbar issues.
    Good luck with whatever you decide. I was very nervous about having them and found out that I worried a lot for nothing. They were nothing like I feared..of course the versed helped! ;)

  • Hi Kris,

    I'm an L-spiney, so this may not be helpful but, like you I was very much on the fence when my doctor recommended that I give ESI's a try. After 2.5 years of "stuff" that hadn't worked I was not too thrilled about the epidurals because I *really* did not think they would work well enough to be worthwhile...Plus, I'm like a dosimeter when it comes to my radiation exposure, so I take seriously any decision that requires fluoroscope time.

    1) I had 2 lumbar ESIs and a caudal earlier this year.

    2) All three helped. I got awesome relief that lasted from 3-10 days with each, but seriously, I cannot tell you how much those days meant. It was like after all this time I had forgotten what it meant to feel semi-ok, and the ESI's pushed me over that hump. I really think it did something good for my body and my brain to have a little "vacation" from the pain even though it was temporary. Plus, now I know that if I have a seriously bad flare I can rely on an ESI for emergency relief, but that in terms of long-term pain management it is not a useful tool since in my case the relief did not last. Having that information is useful. It can also give you some diagnostic peace of mind because how you respond to the injection can give them more info about what is going on.

    3) Yes, I would recommend them to a friend/relative. I think it's a good thing to try because there are some people that manage to get by on a few epidurals a year and do very well, and to me it'd be worth it to know if something as simple as an ESI could be a viable pain management tool. I also think the information they provide can be valuable, and just knowing whether they will work or not is nice.

    It's always hard because from the physician's perspective I'm sure it looks like there is nothing to lose by trying various procedures, but from the patient's perspective there is a real financial, emotional, and physical investment in deciding which procedures are right for us. Good luck with the decision :)
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Been there;

    Done that;

    Didn't help;

    Wouldn't again;

    X6 levels;

    I believe it to be part of the standard treatment protocol(s).

    Follow you doctors reccomendations - they carry malpractice insurance ... I don't.

    Good relief,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Two things bother me about them. First the risk of something going wrong is very serious because at that level it can be paralysis. Second the CT shows a "boney ridge impinging on the nerve root". While I might get temporary relief no injection is going to fix the source of the problem.

    I'm afraid that the choice is quickly slipping away. Starting this afternoon I am having some pretty severe problems with my forearm and hand. I was looking for change in my purse and my whole are went numb and was paralyzed for about 2 minutes. Since then it's been twinging and hurting much more than it was. I was shopping at Lowes and it felt like it was going numb a few times but not as bad as this afternoon.

    Tomorrow I'll be calling both the neurologist and NS. I never had changes this fast.
  • Howdy Kris!

    Based on the sudden numbness and all that, I am glad to see you are going to get with your doctors tomorrow. Are you finding certain positions with your neck bring this on? For me *most* of my nerve exit issues have been to the right. When I move my head forward, back or sideways towards the right, my symptoms get going. You've been down this road, so you know the right questions to ask tomorrow. Please let us know how it goes. Fingers crossed woman!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I just wanted to say that my cervical problems started with some fairly mild symptoms in my arms, the muscle spasms in my back were the biggest problem and what I initially went to the doctor for.

    Once the arm symptoms started, they escalated very rapidly. In only two months time, I went from a slight weakness in my left arm to major pain and almost complete loss of the use of it.

    So I'm very glad that you're seeing your NS. I noticed that it's been two days now - what has happened? What did your NS say? What's your status?

    Let us know what's happening, ok?
  • Hi Cath

    Today I go to the PM doc for a consult. I already told my neurologist that I'm not really in favor of doing the ESI. He said to talk to the PM and that I didn't have to make a decision right away. He wants me to call him back after the appt.

    I'm tending toward saying no for two reasons. One is that I would like to know for sure that this level is the only problem. But with a 50% success rate how can I count on the results being accurate. And the complications sound pretty nasty even for 1-2%.

    I'm also thinking that I need to have this surgery sooner rather than later because of the insurance and my job. I'm afraid that if I try the injections it will just delay having surgery for a few possible reasons.

    I'm lucky that my husband agrees with me for the most part. I wish he was home to go with me today but I don't think that will happen. So wish me luck and I will let you know what happens tonight.
  • Just got back. Doctor was very nice. Read through the CT report and said he can't help me. Said that I have a boney ridge on the vertebra and pretty severe arthritis on the facet joints so surgery is the only answer. He also said it would be extremely difficult to get into that level normally and after surgery it would be impossible.

    He did give me the names of the top three orthosurgeons in New York City. So here we go again...
  • Kris,

    Sorry to hear of your latest news! :( Hopefully you will get some good news soon! At least more fusions aren't on the table this go! We're here for ya woman!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • It would be a fusion according to my neurosugeon who did the first surgery. He would be removing so much of the vertebra that he would remove the disk and fuse that level to stabilize it.

    I expected this answer and really wanted it since it is a solution not just a patch. I think what threw me today was when the pm doc said this is a year recovery. I expected 3-6 months not a year. I think that made it real.

    I'll know more when I can see one of the surgeons he recommended. Keep your fingers crossed that it might be this Friday.
  • Sorry about that brain fart Kris, I do remember your possible fusion there now! Hopefully that high up, they can go in posteriorly only verses front and back?

    I use to live in NY, and you're right, some of the best of the best there! Are you going to see all 3 and decide from there? Fingers will stay crossed for you for sure! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My neurosurgeon said he could go in from the back again. We didn't get to into it because he wanted me to explore the ESI first. Now that I know that is out I will talk to at least one of the other surgeons. These guys are orthosurgeon. THe PM doc says he thinks that is better for a fusion because it is bone work instead of nerve work. Once I talk to this guy I will go back to the NS and see what he thinks.

    I already have a call into my neurologist. The PM doc wants me to increase the neurontin quickly. I want to check with the neuro since he is the one writing the script.

    Well let's see how fast I can get these appts. Friday morning would be awesome because my husband is coming home for a few days and would be able to go with me.
  • I agree with you on your doctor choice - it does make perfect sense. I took a couple of weeks 'break' from all doctors as a 'retirement' gift to myself. I have to get my neuro work ups done to figure my puzzle. :)

    I've only been to one Ortho-surgeon, the rest have been neurologists and neurosurgeons. I was rather impressed with how the Ortho-surgeons look at the same area. The location of your ridge, hopefully this will be the last time they have to go in there woman! Big *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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