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Cervical epidural steroid injection

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have had left scapular pain that radiates down my left arm for 2-1/2 months now. I also have a long standing diagnoses of C5-6 degenerative disc and possibly C6-7 (I can't recall), I was originally diagnosed about 14 years ago.

The pain I have started 2-1/2 months ago - I am sure I am having muscle spasms and when pain is particularly intense, my forearm looks as if a boiled egg was stuffed under the skin.

The best med I could get for the pain was SOMA and Darvocet 1 every 12 hours (this darvocet is on the verge of being banned for use by the FDA because of its ineffectiveness and a high rate of death due to overdose and suicides due to depression). As an RN, I am fully capable of looking up a medication monograph and have done so for Darvocet - prescribing for an adult is 1 - 2 every 4 hours for pain.

I am hoping a doctor or radiologist reads this next part:

On 5/8/09 I had a cervical epidural steroid injection done at a neuromedical center. It was performed with fluoroscopy. On the next day I noticed that the band aid placed over the puncture site seemed low, so I had my daughter measure the distance from C-7, T-1 and it measures 3.5 cm. I don't know much about cervical epidurals, but this does seem a little low for a cervical procedure.

Today I am 72+ hours out from the procedure and have had absolutely no change in my pain status. I can tolerate an upright position for about 15 minutes until the pain is severe requiring that I lie down.

Does anyone here have any experience with a cervical epidural? I am scheduled to have another one in 2 weeks if this one did not work and my copay is $300.00 per procedure. I would hate to think that the procedure was performed in the wrong place. I did mark the puncture site and photographed it using a centimeter tape measure for reference if needed in the future. (its a nurse thing)

Please tell me what you know. Thanks



  • Hi Isabelle:
    I got a total of 2 cervical injections 1 in March and another in April, 2009 for increased symtoms(left arm/hand pain numbness, parasthesia) related to herination at C6-7 below the C 5-6 ACDF I had in 11/07, after 9/24/07 rear end car MVA at high speed.
    I didnt measure where the bandaid was, but I have actually had a worsening of my symptoms, now with right arm symptoms since the injections/ With the first injection I had a week increase in neck spasms, but this did decrease and have decreased the muscle relaxants.
    MRI last week showed herniation at C6-7 below the fusion. awaiting a new appt with NS on 5/18.
    I have been out of work again this time since 4/16/09.
    We have something in common also.. I am a nurse case manager/supervisor with long commute time ( 60 mins at the least) and long computer usage.
    Are there any other treatment modalities that you ahve tred.
    Currently using TENS, occasional heat and massage, ended PT,accupunture and of course meds:)?
  • I would review your meds with this Dr. I got a 2nd opinion from a PM Dr. although my Primary Dr. handles my meds I had to go back to her often and let her know that the MS contin I take was not doing it for the 12 hrs. I take ms contin now every 6 hours. Alot of visits may be necessary and it wasn't easy driving across town with car vibrations but worth the asking for pain meds. I'm an RN also and had to even ask for an MRI because I knew it was beyond muscle strain. Good luck with your epis. They helped for my lumber sciatica. Take care. 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
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  • doesnt hardly take edge off of my pain would you recommend higher dosage or every 6 hrs instead of 12 and how did you get your dr to change you also do u like ms conton or oxy codene best
  • I have had three epidurals over the last six months. The physican used flouroscopy as well. The injection was placed at the base of my neck - right at the shoulder level. In many cases real relief doesn't come immediatly - in fact, the first one i received took a week before i felt significant relief. I followed up with a second one about 3 weeks later - would havebeen sooner had we had scheduling conflicts - again it took a week to really kick in and make a significant difference. I had one recently - in the last 30 days or sso "just to touch things up".

    Different parts of the body respond at different rate to the cortisone - I had a shot in my elbow, and relief came with 48 hours.

    Personally, the epidurals should be a first option over surgery.

    Good luck and feel better - i am not perfect but i am funcitoning!
  • As Kattoo stated (and the very fine picture shows) epi's are not always effective and surgery becomes necessary. I am not avoiding surgery - my neuro "loves" to cut - he probably does more procedures in my area than anyone - but it comes down to "can the level of pain and discomfort be lowered to the point that one can function realtively normally".

    You will normally not get a third epi if you got no relief form the first two.

    I am only on daily anti-inflamatory's (nabumetone) and once in a while i will take a vicodin. The reality is if I had all the issues that some people have on this board I would be first in line!

    Kattoo13 I hope that your surgery in April is starting to give you relief.
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