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After ESI is there anything non-invasive left?

csccs Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had ESIs done on a cervical herniated disc 2 years ago. I got relief from the ESIs that lasted for those 2 years. Just recently, I started having terrible pain in my neck. I went back to the PM doc and had a series of 3 more ESIs. This time they didn't work. The doctor sent me for another MRI to see what's going on. The MRI came back that nothing has changed since my last one.

The PM doc wants me to go back to the Neurosuregon that I first saw when this all started. I absolutely don't want surgery. I'm so worried though that it is my only option left to treat the pain. I'm crying thinking my choices are either pain or surgery (and I don't want either).

Is there anything non-invasive left for me to do?


  • Of course there are other things to try. If I were you I would talk to the surgeon but also see a neurologist or orthopedist who is not a surgeon. They are the best ones to give you guidance. Before you do anything you need to get confirmation that your spine is stable and find out why the ESI is not working this time.

    Once you know what is going on you could try PT, accupuncture, meds and maybe other injections. There are other non prescription things like heating pads and ice.

    Take it one step at a time. ANd don't limit yourself to one opinion. Great minds think alike so you should be able to find several professionals who will give you great advice.
  • Agree with kris. Physical therapy is a great conservative option if you get a really good PT. Then there are other things like nerve ablations, blocks, etc.

    But why is surgery such a terrible thing to you?
  • Thank you Kris. There are other injections they can do? I didn't know that.

    When I first had issues with my spine, I got two opinions. The first from a well respected Neurosurgeon and the second was at Johns Hopkins (we drove 4 hours to get there). Both doctors told me that I was a candidate for surgery but didn't have to have it. The first doctor said he'd see me back when I couldn't take the pain anymore - ugh.

    I really do need a 2nd opinion on the MRI though. I took a copy home with me and compared it to my last one. There seems to be a hole in the disc and/or vertebra that wasn't there before (it's in a few different views). I thought for sure that meant a floating fragment, but there was no mention on the radiologist's report about it.

    I know I have to do something quick though. The PM doctor gave me a few pain killers to take and when I'm out of them, I'm not going to be able to deal with this pain (they are only giving me partial relief as it stands). The heating pad and hot showers do help some but not enough.

    I'm going have to see if the Neurosurgeon can get me in soon. He usually has a very long wait to get in to see him.

    Thanks again for your help. I really apprecaite it.
  • happyHBmom said:
    Agree with kris. Physical therapy is a great conservative option if you get a really good PT. Then there are other things like nerve ablations, blocks, etc.

    But why is surgery such a terrible thing to you?
    Because I saw what my husband went through with his recovery from his fusion. It was rough on him. And he's considered to have failed back syndrome now. So after having all that pain from surgery, he's not much better than he was before.
  • Well, I'd just point out that there are surgeries other than fusions. And that not all surgeries turn out badly, some are very successful- a significant enough number that doctors continue to do them.

    But this site is definitely a great place to get advice before going down that road (and I agree, that's not the way to go until all other roads have been explored!) so welcome!

  • I really would suggest finding a neurologist while you are waiting to see the surgeon. In my experience they are the best ones to find the right combination of neuro drugs to cut off the pain.
  • Thank you for the welcome and support. I'm afraid and it's nice to have a place to go where other people understand.
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