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epidurals didn't work

BarbF01BBarbF01 Posts: 124
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Pain Management
I'm wondering what else is out there for pain management, other than getting more spinal injections. I'm already on lyrica and vicoden - but I'm not sure if I can function for the rest of my life w/ not being able to even go for a walk one day and end up paying for it all the next day (w/ pain and muscle cramping). Theer has to be something else! And yes - I am going to call my PM doc - but he wanted to try injectiosn 1st (so I did and have had 2.....with not really any improvement seen).


  • Hi Barb,

    I think that most doctors want to go the least invasive route first and ESIs fall into that category. Prior to my neck surgery I had two ESIs which failed to relieve the pain or give any definitive diagnostic information. Prior to my recent lumbar fusion, I had another ESI (this time in my lumbar spine) and it was very diagnostic for exactly the problem my MRI showed. Your response to ESI is very important in telling the doctors what's happening in your spine, even if it may seem to you that they are pointless and ineffective.

    Hope you find resolution to your pain. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I have tried so many times with the injections & they don't seem to help me. But luckely, it does help others. Sometimes going under the knife is the only way. I'm now getting ready to have my "test" for the pain pump. I've done 6 surgereys (3 fusions) the pain patch, therapy, & nothing has helped so far. So good luck on what ever directions you go.
  • Linda, I never thought of the injections being diagnostic. Hmmm that is interesting, but makes sense. Thank you for that...I need to get a series for my lumbar I believe b/c I never have. I just assumed they would not work b/c my cerival ones did not.

    Barb, my epidurals did not help me either for my neck, so I've never had them for my lumbar area, but I think I should give it a shot (no pun intended :) ).

    I also had (cervical) trigger point injections which is injecting steriods and a numbing agent right into the painful area...I got about 2-3 days relief out of them. They couldn only be done every other month for so many months b/c it can cause muscle damgage. (per my PM doc at the time)

    Some people get relief form a good chiropracter, but I didn't and I would not recommend it b/c you could get a bad one who could do more damage. My PM DID NOT OK the chiro for me...but I wanted to try it. He was a 'wholistic' type of chiro and i really thought he may help my decreas my pain meds, but he didn't. He did diagnose my scholiosis which as a kid I was watched for each year out of doctors suspecting it.

    I tried physical therapy (a few times) but to no avail. It also did not help me and made me hurt worse. The PT I got for my l5s1 herniation did not seem to know all my spine issues and thought I had a herniated disc that could get better with a week's worth of PT. Yeah, I wish. I do however have a couple exercises that I learned from him that I still use on most days.

    I also tried accupuncture, which honestly was very relaxing during the procedure. However, once I left, the pain was right back...but others have had better outcomes, so something worth trying.

    I also tried massage. hmmm...I didn't have a good experience but i can tell you why b/c it was personal and could very well work for you. It really depends on what type of pain you have as to whether it feels good. My cervical discs cause a lot of muscular, deep hurting pain...so I would have that massaged all day long and it would feel good. However, last time I tried the hot stone massage and took a sharpie and drew around the area of my back and buttock area where not to touch me b/c it's very severe nerve pain and if my clothes even brush the area, it's awful!...well, I couldm't relax b/c I kept thinking she was going to touch me there. But there is also reflexology where they massage your feet and it supposedly works on other parts of your body. I'd like to try that. I'd also like to try accupressure and I'd even try hypnosis! :) I'm desperate.

    A tens unit...do you have one of those? I have one, but it's basically like the massage senerio...i can only use it on the muscular pain, and not the nerve pain.

    Oh, traction...I almost forgot. I have a cervical traction device that I use when I'm in severe cervical pain. It really does help stretch the discs (probably not the correct medical term) and seems to take pressure off the nerves being pinched. I love my traction device. I ordered it off the internet...it's one that you put on and then pump it up like a blood pressure cuff. My PM doctor approved of it.

    I am getting ready to try aqua physical therapy and I'm excited to try it. Apparently the water temp is that of a bath and they teach you exercises in the water so that you prevent muscle atrophy.

    Lastly, I'm considering a pain pump as Sylvia mentioned bc I feel I'm out of options. I'm pretty much maxed out on my meds.

    A couple months ago I had asked a couple questions on this site and got alot of negative response from poeple thinking I was focusing only on pain meds. Well, hopefully, not that i need to prove myself...I think to get pain meds, doctors usually have you go thru every other avenue first...but hopefully this shows my resume of pain management treatments. I hope this helps you see what other options are out there. If they don't work for some, they still do work for others and they may be worth trying. Just ok everything thru your doctor first. Don't do anyting without asking your doctor b/c you do not want to cause more damage.

    I hope this helps and I hope you feel better.

  • I've been batteling my back problem for 11 yrs. do to a car accident. I did the chiropractor & helped for awhile, excercises, pt,surgery, pain patch, more surgery & now going for it on the pain pump. There's something out there for all to try. Just don't give up!!
  • Epidurals have varying improvement on chronic pain and the only way to see if this is effective for you is to try some, my initial view was that any improvement may indicated a more precise route for any future treatment. We should all use those non invasive methods before going down the surgery route that is predominantly irreversible.

    Only when you have fully utilised that non invasive process should you move to the next step, it would be counter productive to be having surgery if any injection may have given even some temporary relief. You have to do what is best for you and even when recommendations come from those where it has been less then successful, that is not you.

    They may well be viewed as a diagnostic tool and progressive strategy, at least when you arrive at the surgery option if necessary, you would know that all other reasonable alternatives that may have given some improvement have been used and evaluated fully.

    My own epidural lasted about three months each and I had two, the suggestion is that treatment will move incrementally in small steps, however frustrating that can be at times. As patients we have to be open to all manner of opportunities, that takes time and continuing pain, higher up the scale our options become limited, as that leap of faith into the unknown approaches.

    I did the traction thing in hospital for many weeks, it was an experience, I remember the ceiling with fondness.

    It takes considerable fortitude to keep going and a dream patient for the doctor.

    Well done you and take care.


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