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Answers needed please!!!

april1964aapril1964 Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Been off work for 3 months due to bulging discs c4-c5 and c6-c7. Numbness in arm and hands, severe muscle spasms in upper back and shoulders. Into my 10th week of physical therapy, which has not helped at all. scheduled for cervical esi and trigger point injections on nov.2. does this ever go away and what should i expect from the injections on the 2nd?


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I hope the injection helps to reduce your pain. I can't tell you exactly what you will feel like or what will happen because it is different for everyone.

    I had a herniated c4-5 and that causes those BAD muscle spasms!

    Have you consulted with a neurosurgeon?

    Sorry you are suffering, if I can be of any support let me know.
    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
  • Welcome to the forum. As Donna mentions, everyones situation is different. I have a C6 and C7 radiculopathy due to a fracture back in the late 90's and progressing age. I had done pretty well again until 2007 and again until this past April 11th. The epidurals can work for some and offer some respite from pain. They are usually shortlived for most but a very good tool to help. They can offer a week, a month and for some, even 6-months to a year of pain relief for good candidates. What type of doctor are you seeing and what does he think? There are many conservative treatments to try and help your pain. Good luck!

  • graciegirl said:
    They are usually shortlived for most but a very good tool to help. They can offer a week, a month and for some, even 6-months to a year of pain relief for good candidates.
    Very true Gracie. I know someone who had great relief from the injections. She got relief for 6-12 months at a time. So, when they lasted about 3 and a half weeks for me.. she thought I was exaggerating when I said it wasn't lasting as long for me.

    The injections I used to get were for my L5 S1, SI joint pain and bursitis in my hip. For me they did help some by taking the edge of and decreasing the amounts of pain. They didn't take all of my pain away.

    The one thing for me was I used to have sore muscles the next day at the injection sites from the injections. That was because, my muscles were very tight when I'd get the injections.

    I was also, getting physical therapy and having HWave treatments and ultrasound treatments. HWave is like a TENS unit. I hope you get some relief soon and that the injections work well for you.
  • I am seeing both a neuro dr. and a pain specialist. the neuro referred me to the pain dr. for the injections. i am just really disgusted with the length of time its taking to get some relief. the pain dr. gave me pain pills which i need to take, but i am so afraid of taking pain meds, for fear of what they'll do to me. I get muscle spasms so bad in my upper back area. The numbness in my hands never go away. and now the burning is coming back in my arms. i get my esi next week, so i'm hoping for some relief soon.
  • Injection in combo with pt is mostly the best treatment to avoid surgery when posible,
    The injection reduces the inflammation and gives you a window of opurtunity to work on pt and work out the problems.

    Sometimes it takes more then 1 injection and if pt helps slowly it can be increased and even when pt is over sometimes an exercise program has to be continued for very long time,

    Thats mostly for cases which surgery is not posibly needed and many times surgery can be avoided, But even if life has to be adjusted to keeping an exercise program for life its worth it do to some of the complications arisisng from any spine surgery,

    Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • april1964 said:
    i am just really disgusted with the length of time its taking to get some relief. the pain dr. gave me pain pills which i need to take, but i am so afraid of taking pain meds, for fear of what they'll do to me. I get muscle spasms so bad in my upper back area. The numbness in my hands never go away. and now the burning is coming back in my arms. i get my esi next week, so i'm hoping for some relief soon.
    I'm going through the same thing. Searing pain..numbness.. muscle spasms. And I'm dealing with the long wait for care too. I've seen a nurse practitioner who insists I'm having muscle spasms that are causing nerve pain. I don't agree with her. I don't like taking pills either. And right now the pills she wants me to take are muscle relaxers. Maybe it will help for when I do get muscle spasms but, my question is.. what about the rest of the symptoms the rest of the time?

    I hope you get relief soon. I know how badly it can hurt and how helpless you end up feeling when all you can do is wait for help.

  • Thanks for all the input. I just can"t wait for some relief from this. My arms and hands seem to be getting weaker as time goes on and it is very depressing. So hopefully after esi and continued pt i will finally have some relief. I am suffering so bad right now and it is great to have people to talk to that has gone through it. If I am like this tomorrow I will start taking the pain meds even though I don't want to, but I don"t think i can suffer another day with this. Will the meds make me sick and are they going to make me sleep? I really appreciate all of you helping me through this as I haven't experienced anything like this before.
  • It is very frustrating to go through what we go through in seeking relief from pain. To me, you have been in PT quite a long time, but insurance often requires PT before more aggressive treatment. I was "lucky" that various types of shots helped me up to 6-12 months for years. Eventually the time frame got shorter for relief and the amount of relief decreased. When I got shots for my neck you could get up to 3 shots in a series and then you had to wait a period (6 mo.?) before getting them again.

    Have you seen a neurosurgeon or ortho surgeon? It might be worth it to get a different opinion or even another neurologist? Try to be your own advocate and make sure you understand as much as possible and keep pressing for answers about what is wrong and what can be done to help.

    Have you been given muscle relaxants to help with the spasms? They may help and assist with pain some as well. Muscle relaxants as well as pain meds. can make you sleepy. It depends on you. Maybe you could take small amounts at first to see how they affect/help you.

    I wish you all the best.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • As Alex mentions:

    "Thats mostly for cases which surgery is not posibly needed and many times surgery can be avoided, But even if life has to be adjusted to keeping an exercise program for life its worth it do to some of the complications arisisng from any spine surgery,"

    I have been able to stall surgery since the late 90's. The neuro at that time did say he'd see me again down the road due to the accident and physical wear and tear. My job for the last 30 years has involved heavy lifting. The epidurals did help my back for several years,(I've had numerous plus nerve blocks,etc.) They are certainly worth a try. I had 4 in my neck since April of this year and got relief only from the last one for about 5 days.
    I like you hate taking meds but sometimes you have no other choice when it comes to a rock and a hard place. Traction also helped my back but not my neck.


    Glad they worked for your friend but sorry not for you.

  • started taking the pain meds! had no other choice. it doesn't take all the pain away, but it did alleviate it to the point where i can deal with it. tomorrow i'm getting the esi. scared to death, but what else am i gonna do? Can't go on like this forever. Is it normal to have severe pain in my hands right now? i can sometimes barely drive from the pain. Neurologist. pt therapist, and pm dr. all say i have severe weakness in arms and hands. can this be reversed if the the inflammation goes down in my neck? or am i gonna still have this? thanks for all of the input from everyone, it really helps alot. I know every outcome is different, but just trying to understand this illness a lil better. thanx
  • Wishing you success tomorrow for your ESIs. I really hope they will give you pain relief.

    Please do come back and let us know how you get on and if you get the relief that you need.

    I haven't had any ESI or surgery, but I am also dealing with neck, arm and hand pain. I also get pains in my legs and feet and around my abdomen. I think that the doctor's assume that it is all coming from my neck, as that is all that they seem to focus on.

    I get awful aching of my arms when I am driving any distance. Do you have that too? I don't have weakness in my arms and hands - just pains, numbness and tingles. My Pain Consultant said he isn't going to do ESIs because the compression in my neck is caused by discs but also bone spurs, so the injections won't do anything for that.

    I believe that if your disc is what is causing the problem, then you can get very good relief from the injections. Let us hope that is the case.

  • I'm new on here as well and have found it so informative and supportive! I'm posting to let you know i had my 1st Cervical ESI today after a LONG wait. After my last MRI in Oct, I have DDD, stenosis, C5-6 and C6-C7 bulging disk with bonespurs and mild impingement on spinal cord. My pain radiates down both arms with numbing,tingling and burning sensations. I, like you, was terrified..didn't know what to expect for the procedure. I really liked my Physiatrist..had 1st appt yesterday and had Epidural today..i'm happy with the way that worked :) As for the procedure, it was over before i knew it. The best way i could describe my experience was that it was a bit uncomfortable for a few seconds and then it was done! Seriously! I'm sore afterwards and I am taking my muscle relaxers and pain meds...i'm really hoping to see results soon! Best of luck to you and know you have lots of support here! You will be in my prayers!

  • Nervous and excited at the same time to finally get this over with and see how i feel. starting to calm down a bit about the prodedure! The pain in my hands are so bad most of the time. My hands are numb and tingling 24/7. They just ache so bad, then when arm and neck pain set in and musle spasms i just don"t know what to do. I have started taking the pain meds which i was afraid of taking also. they are helping me so much. it doesn't take all the pain away but does ease it, to where it is tolerable. This site is so great to talk to people and hear their experinces and outcomes. i will keep everyone updated about my esi. thanks everyone.
  • Well home and just getting out of bed. I didnt feel a thing. I took a pain pill a couple of hours before I got there. So when they sedated me I was out cold. But right now I still have aching really bad in my hands. Maybe it will kick in in a day or two. My dr. said they do it in a series of three. At least I know what to expect now. I won't be afraid next time. I just want it to work!!! Now I'm just gonna relax the rest of the day! Drs. orders!!
  • Good luck, April!

    I hope you get some relief in a day or so. Otherwise, sometimes the pain specialists say after the series of 3 they may work. They did for me for awhile. I hope you are a lucky one. Take care.


  • Had a headache after epidural, got up this morning and it was gone!!Also had burning thru my upper back , neck and arms, which isn't gone but has eased up a good bit. Still numbness in arms and hands and some pain, its a little better than before but not much. so just hoping in the next day or two to see improvement. the dr, said he will do 2 more esi. see how my progress is going when i go for appt. on tuesday. i'm not giving up hope just yet, i've come this far.
  • Sometimes it can take all three for some extended relief. We'll see.

    Good luck!
  • well this is 4 days after esi! Burning all through my upper back and neck area and down my left arm! not to mention the numbness and tingling! Even the left side of my face has numbness! i'm getting pretty discouraged from all of this! i see the pm dr. who did the esi on 11-8 and my neurologist on the 10 th. This is so debilitating!! I sure in the heck don't want to have to take pain meds 24//7! I want this to get better. Would some kind of nerve meds help this? I'm supposed to be getting another esi soon. but i don't know if i even want it after all this. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thank you all.
  • Hi April,

    I had my epidural last Tuesday and it has helped with the pain but I have not slept more than 3 hours a night since. It has truly been the worse experience EVER! I will never get another one of these. They NEVER mentioned insomnia as a side effect. I have a call into the Dr that performed the Epidural and my primary. I hope you get some relief soon and i'm with you as far as NEVER doing this again!

    Take care,

  • I'm sorry they haven't tried some nerve pain meds also but usually they will not order new meds and the ESIs around the same time to see which one thing causes pain relief.

    First I was started on Amytiptyline and then tried Lyrica and finally Cymbalta which helps me the best with a small dose of Lyrica that seems to help my neck pain. Here's more info on pain medications http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-management/neuropathic-pain-management-and-medications

    Did you get any relief from the ESI at all? Usually they do more injections if you get relief from the first ESI. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/epidural-results-and-precautions

    Maybe you want to talk with your PM Dr. or Neurologist about the experience you had after your first ESI. Take care and hope you get some relief. 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 also haven't slept much. Its the burning and numbness that is getting to me. No relief, it is worse. I see pm dr. tomorrow and neuro on thurs. I've been putting ice on which helps and as soon as that wears off its back to where it started. so tonight before bed i'm gonna ice and take a pain pill. thanks for the info. I'll give an update after my appt. tomorrow. God bless you all.
  • Hi April - I was in your same boat - bone spurs on 3 levels completely compressing my nerve root and numb left arm. PT and steroids were no help. I did try the epidurals - the full set of 3 done 2-3 weeks apart. For me the pain was worse for the first 5-6 days or so, then I felt some relief. Doc said if I felt some it was recommended to do the entire series. However when the 3rd one was finally done, just one month afterwards my left arm again was tingling and just about numb. I was so upset. I had 4 opinions and all said my MRI clearly showed the completely compressed nerve and epidurals simply cannot fix that.. Have you had an MRI to see what is actually going on? I was also bone to bone on 3 levels. I finally gave in and had the surgery (3 level ACDF) in August 2011 and am incredibly happy with my decision. Don't give up - keep looking for answers. Also - do you have a TENS? For me it was amazing at reducing the pain I had which was like a knife in my back behind my left shoulder blade for so many months. Sending you very gentle hugs.

  • Well everyone, I started to feel some mild relief Tuesday morning. Went to see the pm dr. and he gave me trigger point shots at the top of my left shoulder. I still have some pain and numbness, but its the most relief I've had since mid july when I went out on sick leave from work!! I'm scheduled for my 2nd epidural on nov. 30. So true about it getting worse before it got better! It was really bad for about 5 days. So I hope I'm on the road to recovery. After next shot I'm gonna be doing occupational therapy also because 11 weeks of pt didn't help at all. I really need to build the strength up in my arms and hands because I use my arms 90% of the time at work, I work in a glass factory and it is fast paced and repetive work. thanks all and God Bless.
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