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catattack85ccatattack85 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Pain Management
I have a rather inflamed herniated disc between L5-S1 and it's impinging on the nerve roots.

I have been told that I need to get it treated asap, but I would really appreciate knowing what I'm in for with both the treatment options I have. I have been told by multiple doctors that if I don't do something I'm on the road to permanent incontinence or worse, paralysis. My two options are steroid epidurals, or surgical. If anyone has received either of these treatments, PLEASE share what you know. I need to have an idea of how effective they are, and what the major side effects are. I'm having a terrible time finding real answers, so any help will be greatly appreciated!


  • I have had 2 cervical steroid epidurals. They were not as scary as I thought they would be, not too bad at all. They only gave me one day of relief though. Wish you luck and hope someone can help you!
  • That is exactly what I'm afraid of. I am currently uninsured and since my injury I've been racking up medical bills left and right. I don't feel like paying $3,000 for an injection that might wear off within the first week.
  • I go for injections in the lumbar region all the time, and actually get quit a bit of relief with them. While it is not a permanent fix, they do help along with medications. If your at risk for cauda equin syndrome, are they talking surgery? I developed bladder issues with my neck and now permanently cath and use medications to control it. But then again unless you develop cauda, I am not sure any doctor will do a surgery, if your uninsured, as it would be non medical emergency. You can look on the federal government website and get insurance as long as you have not had insurance in the last 6 months, that you let expire. Pre-existing conditions while may not be treated for 30 days, would still get you insurance, and the deductible is not as bad as the current insurance I have at $7,500 max out of pocket.
  • The doc wants to try a different kind of injection next week, a facet joint injection. I just found out it will cost me $1500 because of deductible. Like you, I am having such mixed feelings about paying so much and being unsure if it will help. I am desperate though to get out of this chronic pain.
  • I replied in your other thread (the pros and cons one). Like Tamtam stated, "Cauda Equina" can be a biggie in the decision side of the house. I am being watched for that now. Paralysis, eg, nerve damage (permanent) is also something you need to be aware of.

    Have they done any nerve conduction (NVC/EMG) to see what is going on? I know for mine on the legs, the L2/3 and L5 nerves showed as pretty crappy - but undetermined if damage is/has occurred at this stage. You need to push them for as many answers as possible to help you in your decision. Please let us know how it turns out.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have been told that I'm at high risk for Cauda Equina Syndrome, but seriously, the doctors on eastern long island are terrible. I only found out recently why I've been in pain for so long and I feel like nobody is taking me seriously. I'm not a weak person. I've spent my entire adult life in perfect shape, and I've worked between health care and death care for close to 9 years without a single injury because I take care of myself. Then I fell on the ice. That's all. I didn't get hit by a bus. But I still have pain covering my entire spine and whiplash. I have sciatica from the impingement on my nerves, and I have been incontinent on multiple occasions. I don't know where I'm going to get help being uninsured if nobody takes my symptoms seriously!

    Any advice on that one?
  • Cat,

    I have a mix on the bladder side, eg., can't fully empty, and if I do get "full" and stand up fast, I lose half of it if you know what I mean. Grrr...

    Bowels are a mix. Imodium is helping, and fortunately I don't need to take it daily. I've also added Ensure and Activia to my diet, and that too seems to help "#2" issues. (G)

    Cauda Equina *IS* a medical emergency, so insurance or not, they have to treat you if you have that going on. <-- Hint, hint!

    Up until about a year ago, I had NO clue what Cauda Equina was, but then I developed this fatty tumor, and well, now sadly I see how serious it can be. I have a feeling 'caths' are in my future if I can't empty. If I cough or sneeze and 'leak', I go to the bathroom - I don't wait until I feel that full pressure anymore. When I can't push anymore out, I make me cough to try and start the flow again! Bites! (doesn't always work though!!)

    But honestly, if you are in the incontinence mode, it can be deemed a medical emergency, and they have to treat you. Also too, sometimes with hospitals or doctors (as I have learned on here), you can make payment deals with them - way under the normal costs of said procedures. Another option is a teaching hospital. At some of them, they charge little to nothing depending on what your condition is as a teaching tool. I know, makes you feel like a guinea pig, but hey, if it gets your issues addressed...right? :)

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