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Caudal Epidural injection with a racz catheter

I'm new to this site and have just recently seen a specialist who has diagnosed me with failed back syndrome. I am in the military and was injured in a Paratroop Excercise in 2010. After a year with intense sciatica and developing neuro deficits (led drop and parastesia in right leg), I had a discectomy L4-L5 to relieve these symptoms. I thought surgery went well because the leg symptoms disappeared. But 5 days post-op I developed intense pain 8/10 in my surgical area radiating down to my tailbone. It felt like a 6" nail had been driven down my spine. My life changed dramatically overnight. Gone were all of the active sports I played and Excercising I enjoyed. Over the past year I have had many MRI's/CT's/Bone Scan and seen countless Doctors and specialist. Spent many hrs doing physical therapy, only to be left in excruciating pain. Yesterday I saw a great spine specialist who took all of my tests in for review. He informed me I suffer from scar tissue formed around my nerves that will leave me in chronic pain for the rest of my life. I did not take this very well. The doctor informed me that there was very little that could be done, other than prescribing pain and nerve medication. There is one treatment called caudal epidural with a racz catheter, that they would be willing to perform if I'm up for it. I was wondering if anyone here could help with any advice for dealing with this type of pain or is suffering from failed back syndrome. Also if anyone has had this type of injection, could let me know if it worked for them. I am in a bad place right now and any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • I am scheduled for my 1st caudal epidural on Thursday. I have had a facet injection & 4 epidural injections, L3-4 discectomy/laminectomy in 2011 after rupturing a disc in a patient move maneuver. 2nd surgery 5 weeks out, allergic to internal sutures. Awful since then. None of them to date have helped, & I don't want to be addicted to Demerol. Currently, I take100mg twice daily, & it really doesn't work anymore. I am in such pain on a daily basis, & don't sleep at night. It's after 4 am when this is getting written. Did you have yours yet, sore soldier. The rationale the pain management doctor I am having it done by is that the other guys may have missed the spots with their cortisone delivery. Hence, he feels his caudal will do it. Mine is my right leg, as well, & I have been out of work & life for over a year. I am depressed, as might be expected. I used to work 6 days a week, & treadmill vigilantly each day before work. Now, I am a shut in. It's ridiculous that people are allowed to "live" like this. I'll check in, hoping to see an update from you. If I don't see a good outcome, I am looking at a SCS, spinal cord stimulator. I somehow see it coming. But, I really want my life back. I know you must feel the same!

  • MarniMMarni Posts: 45
    edited 08/27/2012 - 2:20 PM
    I also have failed back syndrome and been suffering with chronic pain for 15 years as a result. I had 3 lumber fusions L5/S1 (the last was in 2000). My pain was manageable (with regular injections, and meds) until 2008 when I got pregnant with my first child. Since then I live on Oxycocet (usually 10 tabs a day), nerve meds like Desipramine, NSAIDs, Nucynta and injections. I've had several different injections and blocks (with and without xray guidance) including ESI, hardware coating, paravertebral injections, 2 SI Rhizotomies, etc.

    In addition to the many issues seen on my MRI (there is something going on at every single level from T10 - S1), over the last 18 months I have also developed severe coccydynia. So now, I can't stand OR sit and I can only lie on my side. I can only walk for short bursts before I need to rest.

    One of my doctors recommended a caudal block. I will be discussing it with my PMD this Thursday. I will let you know if I find out anything worthwhile. Please do the same if you guys find out anything more.

    Good luck to you both! Marni
  • I have been through it all as well.. Chronic Pain for 25 years with what started out as "Bulging" discs...Finally in 1999 it ruptured and I had my first surgery, a lamenectomy. Still in pain I had a Decompression with fusion using my bone and NO hardware. I had my first Caudal injection in 1992 and swore it would NEVER happen again. Then through the years I've had Myelograms, MRI's, CT scans, PT, Trigger points, and a FAILED ESI due to scar tissue. I have Spinal Stenosis, DDD, 4 bulging discs, disc height lessening, Osteoarthritis everywhere... I think that's it. Anyway, On October 31 I have the first of 3 Caudal injections... Very nervous....I know that the pain is only for a few min. but DAMN it hurts... Wish me Luck...
  • MballardMMballard Posts: 101
    edited 10/01/2012 - 8:43 AM
    ...to be taken across the hall to the OR for a Caudal. This is my second one of this kind of injection, but my first since surgery. Hoping I get some relief with this one. None of the other injections worked, and I'm in worse pain now than I was before the fusion and discectomy. They are telling me that this should "calm everything down in there."

    I'll let you know...
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
  • ellencalieellencali Posts: 162
    edited 10/01/2012 - 9:34 AM
    Good luck with your injection today! Please keep us posted to how you are doing. I will be thinking good thoughts for you! Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • Pretty rough. My PM doesn't do any sedation, do I got to experience it in all it's glory! Not the worst thing ever, but certainly not fun. I'll let you know if it helps with the pain at all in the next few days.
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
  • Too much pain. The injection area burns and is very bruised. I keep getting a stabbing pain in my hip that wasn't there before the injection, and it seems like the nerves in my legs have gone into overdrive - I keep getting what feels like electrical pulses down my legs, particularly in my right thigh. I'm also running a low grade fever - not sure if it's related to the injection or not. I've had to resort to using my walker today. This all could be the injection, or it could be a particularly rough PT session yesterday morning. My PT tried to add some new exercises, and when I attempted one I got a stabbing pain in my back, butt and legs. I stopped short, laid down and cried for about 15 minutes, right there in the middle of the gym. So I was feeling pretty crappy after that, and going into the injection a few hours after PT. So stupid of me to schedule both on the same day. I figured if I got PT out of the way, I'd have a couple of days to rest after the injection before I had another PT session.

    Unless this miraculously cures me, I don't think I'll do another Caudal. My last one was not even half as bad as this, but like I said before, that one was prior to surgery, so maybe that has something to do with it. Scar tissue? Inflammation? I don't know. I'm so over this crap.
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
  • Well, I had my first of three Caudal Injections yesterday... It wasn't as bad as an ESI, but we'll see. The PM Dr. came in, said hello, and 30 seconds later it was over... A Beesting, pressure and over. He said "This will bring you great relief Rhonda". After 25 years of this does he really think that one little shot is going to be the Magic Cure??? I don't think so... The Perc 10's along with 2 15 mg. Morphine IR a day isn't helping much...no matter what I say I still get the same thing... I am hoping that after all of this he will finally change my meds...The Tylenol is giving me an upset stomach and little red itchy bumps...2 weeks to go until my next injection....
  • edited 01/21/2013 - 3:04 PM
    I'm getting ready to start a series of 3. Thus far I have had 2 facet injections, 1 epidural, rhizotomy (lumbar) both sides, sacrum injection series. The caudal series is the last attempt before I go to a spine specialist. Mine ailment is arthritis, without disk or nerve issues, just arthritis. I'm only 51 and not sure how much longer I will be able to hold down my full-time job. This is very difficult. For all of us
  • I have only had a caudal ESI. The one and only that I had was an epic failure. When I went back for my follow up to see how it went I was displaying dropped foot syndrome so surgery was recommended at that time. Nine months later I had a discectomy and laminectomy left side at L5/S1. Went back 3 months post surgery for routine check up and now waiting to have MRI done. I am a work comp case so nothing happen quickly for me. I was doing great after surgery. Went through PT and was getting stronger and decreasing my pain meds. I was still having pain but it was different than it was before I had surgery so I thought it was just the incision and scar. Pain has continue to get worse. I really thought it was scar tissue causing the pain but surgeon says that if it was scar tissue that I would be showing signs of nerve compression again. He feels that it is bone on bone pain. Treatment plan is epidural ESI's again and if fail then spinal fusion.
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