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Newbie here

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all,

I have been dealing with chronic migraines my entire life (literally - my mom said I used to get them as a baby) which have gotten progressively worse lately. I have a herniated C5/C6 disc that has flattened the thecal sac and is pressing on the spinal cord (hope I worded that right) according to the docs. I have now gotten two opinions - one says surgery is the only way I will ever get anythign more than a temporary fix, the other says avoid surgery at all costs so I'm more confused now than ever. But regardless, I have been on 4 10/325 hydrocodone/apaps for years and they're no longer working as well.

I'm 29, have a toddler and a full time job that involves sitting at the computer for 50+ hours a week. Being the breadwinner I don't have much of a choice in working or not though my doctors have offered to put me on disability. But I haven't been at my job for a year so I can't do that.

Any advice, tips or suggestions would be welcome. I have done every test they can come up with to find out the disc issues are what appears to be causing the migraines.

Has anyone had the epidural steroid injections here? How bad are they? I have tried hundreds of trigger point injections and blocks over the years as well as other cortisone injections with no success, or success for a day or two so I'm skeptical it will help BUT I feel like if I don't do it my doctor won't want to keep working with me on managing my pain levels. So far I have consented to every test he's wanted to run, all sorts of alternative treatments, tons of medication trials and honestly I'm just sick of being a lab rat. I think I'm ready to throw the towel in on trying new things and finally give the oxycontin a go as he had originally suggested but when that was suggested was before the DEA got all nosy. Any tips on how to have that conversation would be much appreciated, I do not want to get my doctor in trouble but I do need some help managing my pain so I can continue to work and be a mother to a very active 2 year old.

Sorry that was so long! Anyways look forward to getting to know you all.


  • Welcome to SH.

    We look forward to getting to know you, as well. The decision to have surgery or not is very personal, but it sounds like you have a very caring surgeon that really wants to help you out.

    If you feel comfortable with him, like him and have a great gut feeling about him, I'd go with what he says will work. You've tried a lot of conservative measures and if they're not working, then perhaps it's time for more invasive options. You don't want to live on major pain meds all your life, although most of us have some narcs in our bag daily, but just upping them to live is not living.

    You might need to wait for a year to get STD and FMLA for recovery from surgery, if you choose that route, but it would be worth it if your spinal cord is being compressed.

    Take care and please keep us posted. Feel free to PM me if I can help you in any way.

    Again, welcome to SH, I hope you find a nice support system here like so many of us have.

  • I had cord compression at C5/6, as well as severe foraminal stenois. My symptoms got worse about a year ago and I tried all the conservative treatments with no relief. The epidural steroid injections didn't cut it and the trigger point injections only helped for less than 24 hours.

    You have to exhaust all the conservative treatments before even contemplating surgery. I had surgery and the recovery is very exhausting and long. I am 8 months post-op and still recovering. I chose to have the surgery because I tried everything possible and was spending half the day on the couch. When your quality of life is an issue, then you might consider surgery. Surgery is not always the answer. I would recommend try the epidural injections and see if that helps. If it doesn't then you might consider surgery. Good luck! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Hi :wave:

    I myself would say something like "as you know I tried almost everything there is to try to help reduce these migraines, and nothing is working very well. I am ready to try the oxy med you recommend to me before".

    That reminds him/her that the oxy was their idea in the beginning and that you have done all they have suggested.

    Please keep us updated :0
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
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