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meds and steroid shots for neck

mcdougmmcdoug Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have had neck pain for 15 years. The C5-6 is blown and the discs on either side are bulging. All of it is due to my former occupations. My goal has always been to manage symptoms with helpful exercises, stretching, meds and listening to my body. The MD doesn't want to give me meds anymore because my liver runs marginally out of the normal range on blood work results. I was using tylenol #3 and ibprufen. Neither was really that effective when the pain gets bad. Oxycodone is effective but the Md will not prescribe it and it's rough on my stomach. The MD sent me to pain doctor. He wants to do steroid shots in the neck, but I've had those before and I'm not that fond of them. They had some positive results but also some negative results. I don't have a history of abusing the meds, but I did take them to try to sleep at nite. Here's my question which meds are effective for cervical headaches and less harmful to the body, stomach included? Does anyone find steroid shots effective in the long run? I've never been operated on by the way.



  • Your new Pain Management Dr. should be able to work with you on finding a pain medication without Tylenol which could be hard on the liver. I have taken MS Contin and Oxycontin both slow release meds and haven't bothered my stomach at all but if I take Morphine IV or Oxycodone instant release they do upset my stomach. I hope you can get relief from your injections and find a pain med that will help you.

    I haven't had any c-spine injections only lumbar and I had some relief from the epidural but wasn't lasting for me but many Pain Management Drs may require you to do injections sometimes before even taking meds but I always took pain meds since I injured my back and couldn't imagine getting by without the pain relief meds can give.

    What are your symptoms? Do you have arm pain and numbness/tingling? My Pain Dr. said the injections would help with my leg pain and sciatica and I did get some relief. Do you take any meds like Cymbalta or Lyrica for nerve pain? I hope the injections help. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had c5/6 fused one year ago. Like you described I have spent many years in pain , and it was only two years ago I was diagnosed w/cervical degenerative disease. I have done alot of research, and at certain points I was willing to try the injections, however I found out that either way the relief was temporary. A patient w/same problem informed me her Orth. doctor explained that any cervical shots created scarring in the tissue, and the trade off was a higher probability of additional issues in the long run. So it seems a short term fix ( if it even works)can create a long term consequence. As for meds, I have taken so much ibuprofen over the years, the stomach cannot handle it. Pain medication w/o aspirin or ibuprofen like oxycodone works. However, it appears you have one of those doctors who treats patients in pain like their addicts. Their are pain meds available that are effective with our pain, I would look for another doctor,who will work with you. Also, I get massage therapy for trigger point release. I find this to be the best for headaches, some meds can actually aggravate the headache pain, and I found that myine are caused by knots in the muscles. If you try self massage on the points in your neck , you can actually trace specific spots to the head pain. I work on mine daily. One last point, about the shots..not all docs are trained on how to appropriately give them, yet they will arbitrarily give people shots.My understanding is that they need to be administered under a sonogram, for maximum efficiency. Sorry so long winded ..I know how it feels to be in pain...even with the best attitude it is a journey and at times exhausting..Keep the faith..and positive thoughts
  • Thanks for responding to my question, your insight is appreciated. My symptoms are stiff neck, shoulder pain and headaches. The headaches are the biggest problem. If I feel any tingling in my fingers I will back off any physical activity until my symptoms calm down. My MDs don't want to talk meds. They tell me the #3 is not good over the long run, but they're not giving me alternatives. The last time I had a shot in the neck it was a little messy. At first I wretched for a 1/2 hr or so, then my blood pressure sky rocketed and I blew up with fluid retention for three days. I only decided to get it beause my hand had started going numb and I couldn't stop it. It resolved the numbness. But my current pain is directly related to my activities. If I'm active my symptoms tend to flare-up and it's sleeping that is my biggest problem. I hope more people respond to my question. Real life patient experience is the best advice as far as I'm concerned. Thank you
  • McDoug,

    Hi, sorry to hear you are in the phase of needing more non-interventional pain relief and what hasn't been working for your C-5/6 issues/conditions.

    I'm a C-Spiney with some long history with degeneration, DD (degenerative discs, in 5 of 7 levels, including curvature, scoliosis above in upprer 2 levels) necessary to have treatment relief for past 35 yrs.

    I can share what I found helped me, but do encourage you to find a good pain specialist and certified with pain management society (anethetists background usually who do surgical injections) and know the facet joint nerves well as well as nerve root and spinal cord.

    Re: Injections - "Lumbar more successful than Cervical" with Results and Risks (my two Pain Specialists PHD, past 15 yrs)

    I have had good experience in my chronic lumbar pain in getting spinal injections, steroid and then followed up with the nerve block injections and radio frequency abalation (a/k/a rhizotomies) = lasts 2-3 yrs in past for me. Done by Pain Specialist who does injections only and in surgical setting environment (most major medical univ. have them). I remain functional with advancing DD + 2 levels going from "moderate to severe disc bulges" on 2 of 3 levels in lumbar with this series of injections.

    Re: Injections - C-Spine

    I have not had good success with epidural spinal injections, initially in C-2/3 and C-5 and C-7/8 levels from mva's too many (rear-ended and broadsided oweee!) in past 6 yrs.

    More recently I had a nerve-root nerve block C-7/8 and was worse off for pain and neuropathy symptoms more aggressive went into nerve-muscle spasms, searing pain post-injections. My Phd Anethetists/Pain Management Specialist could only recommend high doses of neurontin for this flare-up and didn't talk about the adverse affect I had, nor answer my ?'s why this occurred & how much worse I was.

    I am not trying to scare you, but DO be very resourceful and thorough when seeking spinal injections and know they have stated medical risks with the injections, normally signed whether the doctor verbally explains or mentions to

    With my adverse reaction I discovered Pain Management Medical doctors/specialists, associations, all reporting cautionary techniques, substances used, areas treated, high expertise in skill and administration of the injections, to avoid damage to the nerves and toxic trauma.

    With my lumbar injections, I have never had any adverse reactions or complications, nor have I heard anyone else having any to my awareness. But through experience I believe what I experienced was not just "unsuccessful C-spine injections, but adverse trauma toxity" to my nerve root 8 and resulting very fast & aggressive loss of forearm and hand neuro-muscular function, which my Neurologist said was "more rapid neuropathology he has seen ever with spinal compression of nerves in C-Spine".

    Soooo, my recommendation is READ, ASK, REVIEW on your own and with the PHd doing the suggested injections. And always remember each person's condition, may not be the same as yours, as well as recommended medical treatment.

    Wishing you relief in what you are experiencing, I know for many of us C-Spiney's getting pain relief is tough, and it doesn't go away (i.e. advanced degen or post-surgical), but you can get some relief and have better days than others.

    Glad you're here and know there is much relief here at Spine-Health for the psyche, emotional and being on the path not alone with the challenging Spiney journey :)

  • What meds have worked for you when you have pain that won't allow you to sleep? Do they bother your stomach or liver? I'm trying to deal with this over the long term without killing myself with the meds.
    If I limit my activities the need for pain meds is not as great, but I need to do certain things for economic reasons etc.
  • Hi Charry,

    Charry I responded to your post last nite, but not entirely.
    Do Cymbalta and Lyrica help you with your nerve pain?
    MS Contin and Oxycontin have not bothered your stomach or liver after long term use? I actually wouldn't need them everyday, but I need an option when it's 4am and I haven't slept all nite due to the pain. Thanks for responding to my question.
  • Raventrax I see a maasage therapist every few weeks and it definitely helps. I also try to work the triggers points myself, but when the headaches get bad nothing such as that will work. I've stood in the shower at 3 in the morning with the water as hot as I could stand it, just to mask the pain. I can only imagine what measures all of these posters have tried when the pain is in charge. I'd like to hear more from about the meds that work and are somewhat safe for the human body. I know that there's always a trade-off.
  • I take Cymbalta 60mg a day and Lyrica at night 25mg and take a sleeping pill also so the pain won't wake me up and works for the most part. I have no stomach or liver issues with Oxycontin or when I used to take MS Contin. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I take loritab 7.5 -4 aday & they dont bother my sleep
  • I feel really bad for you and everyone that has a not so great PM doctor. I am so thankful that my doctor is open minded and is willing to take the time to discuss whatever I want without thinking I am an addict or something. She has even offered me stronger meds which I declined because of my age (I don't want to build a huge tolerance now).

    I take Cymbalta 60mg for nerve pain and headaches (This has helped my headaches more than anything else, it is also not a narcotic its an anti depressant first developed for nerve pain, docs will easily prescribe it, but it is expensive)

    I also take norco 7.5mg 1-2 a day and zanaflex 6mg at night, sometimes 2mg in the morn or afternoon.

    I am not trying to get high! I don't think any of us are! I have taken 2 norco at once and I didn't feel high (I didn't want to, I was just in so much pain) I felt like puking! I guess I don't understand why people would want to take hydrocodone/oxycodone for fun. Ah well!! I have also found soma to be helpful but not if taken every day.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
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