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Success with Thoracic Epidural Injections???

I am wondering how many of us have tried Epidural Injections on thoracic problems, and if they work.

Can anyone share their experiences please?


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Over the years, I had about 5 different Thoracic ESI's. Unfortunately, none of them helped me in any way. It didnt make things worse, but it didnt improve my condition at all.

    Those thoracic ESI's were done over a 22 month period of time.

    In fact, I had better success with trigger point injections and acupuncture when it came to my thoracic problems.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • They didn't work for my either. I had one about 3 weeks before my microdiscectomy on May 24, 2012 and it didn't ease the pain at all. I had another one in Aug and then Sept. and none worked. I had an RFA in early Dec. and it didn't help with thoracic pain. Wish I knew what would :(

  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 01/10/2013 - 12:34 AM
    I have read somewhere that thoracic epidural injections don't have such a high success rate as lumbar and cervical.
    Great that you did get some help anelsen. :-)

    Interesting Ron, that trigger point injections and acupuncture did help you. I have been considering trying acupuncture. I will wait until I am further into the recovery from my ACDF 9 weeks ago. How is your thoracic pain now? Any other suggestions of things that will/could help?

    Mostly, I am coping with the tightening pain around my chest and the spasms, but I had an awful episode of pain a week ago that has got me thinking that I may need to do something. My neurosurgeon has said we can try epidural injections and I wondered how successful they can be.

    My spine problems and surgeries are certainly helping me to get rid of my fear of needles!! I still don't like the idea of injecting so close to the cord though.

    kamgram/ kelli, what level was your microdiscectomy surgery done? I do hope that you will find something to help. Have you tried acupuncture?

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    For the most part, my thoracic problems are under control. Every once in a while, if I do something I shouldn't, spend too much time on the computer, or if the stars aint lined up correctly, I have some difficulties. Its mostly that stabbing burning pain between the shoulder blades down to the middle of my back.

    Acupuncture helped. But honestly, it wasn't long term relief. Over a two year period of time, I had about 40+ sessions of acupuncture (about 18 thoracic related). When I had those sessions, I had super relief for about 48 hours, then the calm feeling started to wear off. The more frequently I had those needles, the longer I had relief. I still believe in acupuncture and I know it can help.

    I know people are probably tired of me saying this, but the one thing that finally helped my 4 herniated thoracic discs was deep tissue massage. Once my deep rhomboid muscle started to become pliable, there was less strain on my thoracic area. Those treatments started back in 2006, once a week for PAINFUL sessions. It took about 6 months of doing that before I found relief. Today, I go about once or twice a month. If it wasnt for this Master Thai Deep Tissue expert, I would be in a wheelchair today.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Since my neck fusion, my thoracic pain seems to have escalated. I do know that it often happens after a spinal surgery that other levels of the spine start to complain. I am hoping that things will settle down again, but I have got 3 herniated discs in that area, that have played up before, so it is not just the surgery causing pains.

    I had a massage back last summer. The idea was to treat myself with a pleasant, relaxing experience. Well, it was horrible! I think it was a deep tissue massage, and it was very painful. She did say that my muscles were very tight, and I'm sure she was trying to help me, but it left me sore for a couple of days. I was very disappointed and didn't notice any benefit from it. I have not had a massage since!

    Do you find that your session are still as PAINFUL, or less so now things have improved?

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    edited 01/10/2013 - 8:16 AM
    is almost always aggressive. Painful, yes, at times very. Depending on what part of the body he is working on. Thoracic and Lower back work is painful, it gets much more painful when its on the floor.

    There are still times when he is working on me, I lose my breath. He tells me to count to 5, thats all he will push in that area. But somehow, after 10 seconds, he is still at it. His way of helping me get through the pain.

    This kind of treatment is not for everyone, so I would not say its the way for everyone to get relief. For me, it did work.
    But, you need do some homework. There are so many massage places that advertise, Sweedish, Deep Tissue massage, etc. There really isnt any laws/license that is needed, so almost anyone can say they do massages.

    I found my guy, through my doctors. When I discuss what this little Thai guy can do to me with my Physical Therapists, they are amazed.
    Its hard for them to realize that some one could jump up and land in between your vertebrate with his toes each time without messing up. A mess up could result in severe damage
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 01/10/2013 - 8:05 AM
    Sounds scary to me!
    You are a brave man Ron!

  • I haven't had a discogram.
    My MRI shows 3 herniated discs and some osteophytes (x-ray shows them too).
    2 of the discs are slightly pressing on the cord. My worst pain is a wrapping around my chest pain and spasms just under my bra. I will talk to my doctor about it next time I see him (or sooner if I get another awful day when I can't cope with the pain!) I have also had some pain right over the spine - that is more a tenderness type of pain.
  • i am so sorry Jellyhall. I just seen where you asked me a question which I completely missed :( I had micro discectomy at T7-8 level. I also had the pain and spasms at bra level and wrapped around left side of chest and under rib cage at top of left side of abdomen. It was so painful that I thought I was having heart attack but all tests including heart cath were normal. I also had the osteophytes and severe compression of cord so surgery was necessary but thankfully specialist at Duke was able to go through the back and not have to go through the chest. I still suffer from pain though 7 months later :( I hope that your doctors are able to help you and please PM me if you ever have any questions or just want to vent :)

  • Did you have a fusion with the mirodiscectomy, or did they just remove part of the disc?
    Our symptoms sound so similar.
    When I had this awful pain, I would have thought it was a heart attack too, had I not known that I have thoracic problems and recognised some of the pain.
    I saw my GP last Friday and told her about it. She took my blood pressure and said that was fine. We will see if I have a repeat of that awful pain. I really hope not!!

    Luckily my compression of the cord is only minor, so no need for surgery. Well, that MRI was done 15 months ago, so hopefully it hasn't progressed since then.
    I wonder if my ACDF 9 weeks ago has flared up my thoracic pain. I have definately been twisting more than usual to try to protect and compensate for my neck.

    Thanks for the offer of listening and answering questions Kelli. xxx

  • It is so encouraging to hear that these injections have helped you. It makes me think that if I need them, it will definately be worth a try. :-)
  • kamgramkkamgram Posts: 483
    edited 01/13/2013 - 7:24 PM
    I didn't have a fusion with micro. I do have to decide whether I am going to go forward with fusion of L3-S1 but right now have enough on my plate. I am going Friday for arthroscopic on knee after fall and subsequent MRI showed severe arthritis and swelling so ortho can't tell what is wrong with knee so going in for a look. I would just keep an eye on thoracic pain. Mine went from nothing to severe and don't know of anything I did to cause it. Maybe it is the surgery that is stressing the thoracic spine. So hard when you have several things going on at one time and don't know which to address first :/

    Thanks for listening to me and letting me vent :)
  • Had T9 injections two days ago. I was stiff yesterday but able to do a lil bit of laundry and cook. I was going to go to work today. Hair stylist. Was washing a few dishes this morning and BOOOM! Instant headache, pain shot from spine to head and face back thru to L5, back up to head with severe pain in injection area, ribs, chest and upper stomach, simultaneously! Immediately layed down. Head better, back, chest, abdomen still sore but the gut wrenching is just coming and going now. Scared to try to do anything. Waiting for Dr to call back. Anyone else experience this????

  • I am glad that you have contacted your doctor's office.

    I am not a doctor but I have read a lot of posts on Spine Health.
    I believe that headaches after spinal injections that go away when you lie down could be due to a spinal fluid leak.

    I hope that you hear from your doctor soon and meanwhile suggest that you stay in a lying down position.
    If you search on this site in the search box for spinal leak or dural leak you may find some similar stories.

    Good luck and please do come back and let us know how you get on.

  • I have had shots from C7 down to T11. Including facet blocks and intercostals. The last intercostal I had lasted 5 days. Any others have lasted 1-2 days or not at all. The next is a C7/T1 facet block. They have to give me some time off since I've had 5 so far this year. I've also heard that the success rate is not so great for thoracic injections.

    I've been through the trigger point injection, which didn't work, acupuncture (12 sessions), PT for 10 months and off and on with the chiropractor for 6 months. I get some relief with the chiropractor.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
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