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3 Doctors. 3 Opinions and one really confused patient

tonya42ttonya42 Posts: 810
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone else ever hoped an ESI injection didn't work? Well I am. For anyone who doesn't know me. I had a collision with a semi back in Sept then ACDF C5 C6 in early October. I've been through PT and still had severe shoulder and neck pain. I couldn't get answers about my shoulder pain so I went to see an Ortho who specializes in shoulders who told me the pain is still coming from my neck and sent me today to see a new Ortho who specializes in necks and he agrees. So his recommendation is that I have 2 ESI injections beginning Wednesday as a diagnostic tool to see if the pain is coming from the level above. He says that there is too much movement between C3/C4 seen on the MRI and that is what is now causing my pain. So now I'm faced with another surgery if the ESI injections work he will know that IS the cause of my pain. I am going to continue with my Myofascial therapy and get the 2 ESI injections and go from there. Has anyone ever had this happen? I can't imagine that I'm the only one. I was FLOORED today. I never even saw this one coming either. Just like the semi. :(
If you've had ESI injections I would love to hear what I can do to minimize the pain on Wednesday.


  • Hi tonya,
    I have had lower back esi's but not neck. If you are that unsure, go to a neurosurgeon for advice. a neurosurgeon and an ortho are looking at two different angles. a neurosurgeon knows the spine and spinal cord and that's who I would see before I had any esi's to my neck. feel better, Cher
  • I think this is actually being done by an anesthesiologist at the hospital my ortho works at. If I need surgery though I would weigh the pros and cons of an ortho vs neuro before I have anything done that is more invasive. I just want to know what to expect after the ESI and if there is anything that I can do to make sure it is not painful.
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  • I at least have myofascial to look forward to tomorrow. I really expected that when I showed up in his office this morning that he would say something like, "Well let's keep up the therapy and see how that works." Instead he looked at my motion MRI and noticed the other discs. I can't believe that I'm about to say, "I hope ESI doesn't work Wednesday." I know everyone else around here is looking for relief from it. I'm not because it only confirms that I'm in for more surgery. I am still in shock today. :(
  • Sorry to hear you may need surgery again maybe. I had lumber ESIs only. They mainly helped the leg pain but I know it's for diagnostic reasons. Ask them about facet joint problems. The 2nd PM Dr I went to diagnoised that and gave injections there. I hope everything works out for you.
    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 have had those to confirm what disc was the problem. I have also had selective nerve root injections as well. As you know my story is quit long with the number of surgeries and I was also involved in a MVA. None the less you should hope they find the pain generator as well. Once they identify what is causing the pain it can be treated. Hopefully, that will not require more surgery. Since you have been down this path before you know what to expect. Another thing that you have to keep in mind when it comes to fusing there is greater pressure put on other disc. Hence when i was reading on one of the risk of surgery, that i signed off on, was the need for further surgeries in the future. I will tell you that my surgeon was not that confident in the MRI without contrast and sent me for a myelogram followed by ct. I noticed that you said they were concerned about motion. The fourth surgery I had was to correct rethrodesis(sp) which means that the one level is moving on top of another level causing instability. This can be seen on a flex film as well. Rather hard to dx on standard MRI's for the fact you are laying flat for that test. Where as the myelogram has your neck in the extended position.

    As far as minimizing the pain from the ESI i really had no issues. I have done all the injections under local anesthesia to the injection site. If your concerned about the pain they can give you a general for that. If your going for myofascial massages, is it possible to have another one the following day. I have one of the ESI's about a day afterwards bring the pain on so bad that I called the ordering doctor to beg them to get it out of me. Apparently they were trying to recreate what i go through. At that point and time I was very new to all this, and didn't realize what they were doing. The pain lasted for about three days as apparently it wouldn't pass the space and was setting right on the nerve. I can tell you the selective nerve roots I really enjoyed. The last one I had decided not to go to bed till it wore off as it had been so long that i was almost pain free. Unfortunately it only lasted about two days and the pain returned with a vengeance. I can tell you I have had a fusion that compromised the same nerve that was released as well. Anyway good luck and keep us posted. If i can help in anyway don't hesitate to pm me. Sorry about the bad news.
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  • Hi Tonya,
    So sorry to hear what you are going threw. I did have the ESI'S in the neck twice and than after relief I had the RF done leaving in so much pain in my head I ended up in ER all was ok after they did a MRI to make sure nothing happend during the RF. I know am back to square one and would never get anything more done with my neck after the RF scare. I wish you luck with whatever you think you should go with. Make sure you trust your Dr. or go for another opinion. I just had my secound RF done on my L.B 3 levels both sides and it did not work as good as the first looks like I am going to see Dr. about the s.c.s Just to give you an update on me. Well, I know the injections in the neck seem to be more scary than the back. I did have meds to knock me out so, I can't say if it hurt or not. Just let the Dr. know of your fear of the pain. Again good luck and let me know how all went. Blessing to you.
  • I always follow you around here because it seems we have much in common. My only hope is that it doesn't require I have anymore surgery. There has just got to be another way. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I have one thing going for me this week I think. I have a PT appt for Myofascial Release tomorrow and Thursday. With the ESI in between. I was wondering if I should reschedule my Thursday appt. but it sounds like that may be my saving grace this week. I talked to someone in the imaging place where I will be having this ESI and they don't do any anesthesia just a local. He said the whole procedure takes less than 5 minutes and they will have me in and out within an hour. He did however tell me to feel free to take my Valium and Tramadol just before the procedure if I want to and if it relaxes me.
    Thanks for the response. I really needed to hear today that I'm not alone in this.
  • Ok educate me. What is an RF is that where they go in and burn the nerve? If so I don't think I could ever let them do that. I've heard some real horror stories about that procedure.
  • I have only had lumbar injections. They really didn't do much for me at all. I am sorry to hear that you may need surgery again. Please keep us up to date. ((Hugs)))
  • I know how much you're going through. It means a lot to me that you stopped by for a hug. Back at you sweetheart.
    Like I said I'm hoping I have the same result as you. That it doesn't give me relief. If it does I'm screwed literally only this time at C3/C4. :)
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