Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

injections vs. surgery, my experience

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Chronic Pain
May 2008 Chronic lower back pain, upper right side of right leg, nerve pain and numbness
(wf, 54, non smoker/drinker, 5'8" 125 lbs. overall good health) I have seen 4 doctors and this may be of help to others.

My Gp referred me to a specialist. He referred me to an orthopedic specialist, and his appts. consisted of a series of doctors and painful shots, that included:

June, 26, 2008
X-RAY Spondylolysis w/spondylolisthesis at L5-S1. Disk space collapse w/ mild osteoporosis.
MRI - disk collapse at L5-S1 with partial disk herniation, defect along the pars, evident w/ spondyloisthesis.

Medrol Dosepak and Advil (I also have Loratab 5 and 10 and have been having to take them more often, which is a treatment, I made clear, I am not interested in)

August 1, 08-Spondylolisthesis, L5-L1: TREATMENT lumbar epidural steroid injection at L5-S1 w/80 mg of Kenalog

Oct. 22, 08, L4-S1, recommended facet steroid injection and radiofrequency nerve ablation.

Oct. 28, 08 Spondylolisthesis L5-S1; Lumbar spondylosis L3-S1, fibromyalgia; and lumbar facet arthropathty L4-S1.
TREATMENT; bilateral facet joint injection at L4-5, and L5-S1 w. 20 mg Kenalog.

Dec. 16, 08-TREATMENT: radiofrequency nerve ablation of L3 and L4 on right (will do left side at next appt. due to insurance billing); 40 mg Kenalog; and rf nerve lesioning at 80 deg for 90 seconds. (impedance between 200-400)
Diagnosis of spondylolisthesis L5_S1, and spondylolysis.
The insurance comment bothered me, so I wanted another opinion,

My husband, a lobbyist, finally intervened to get me in to see a pain specialist, who does peer reviews. He offered 2 options, as his initial thoughts were my problems could only be solved through surgery (my last option).

He was critical of previous treatments of such small doses of Kenalog, etc., and wondered aloud why they bothered. He ordered a L-Spine flex and extension x-ray.
12-23-08 Lumbar spine defects of L5 bilaterally w/grade one spondylolisthesis of L5-S1.

1st procedure
Mar. 09-Electrodiagnostic report - L5 peroneal nerve-1 hyper
S2-Post, femoral cutaeous nerve -1 hyper
2nd procedure
Mar. 16-RF procedure.
He then referred me to a surgeon. Since this would now be the 5th doctor, my husband once again intervened.

A Senator contacted the neurosurgeon for St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. He immediately ordered a second MRI (although I had just had one months ago, there had been a change). Upon review, he said the only thing that will fix my problem is surgery, and I believe him. Assisting him will be one of the orthopedic surgeons for the OSU sports teams that specializes in back pain. This is what they will do June 16th: PLIF (lumbar fusion); Posterolateral lumbar fusion; pedicle screw instrumentation; and decompression/laminectomy.

The above information comes directly from my medical records. Even though I have excellent insurance and professional and political contacts, I have been through so much to finally feel I will receive treatment that will help me. I can only imagine how hopeless you feel without either. I was so afraid of surgery that I wanted it to be the last option. It should have been the first thing suggested. God Bless.



  • See my previous (1st post) if you don't have insurance or trouble finding a solution.
  • Thanks for your story.

    Here's a really quick version of mine. After living with sciatic type pain running down my leg and making my feet numb for a year, I had a MRI. According to my internist, the MRI did not show anything very unusual for someone of my age (54 at the time).

    My pain continued so I made an appointment with an ortho spinal specialist. He looked at my MRI, sent me across the hall for a flexion X-ray and about five minutes later told me that I had spondylolisthesis...that I needed to have fusion and that was the only treatment that would fix my problem.

    I went from thinking everything was OK for someone my age to being told I needed fusion. I was shocked. But I should have listened to him. Instead I spent a couple years consulting with other specialists and trying various conservative procedures. I could have saved myself about three years' time and possible permanent nerve damage by just having the surgery!!

    Little did I know then that when you have spondy (and pain) things are pretty clear cut and there really aren't that many options.

    Good luck to you with your surgery.

    xx Gwennie
  • advertisement
  • Most of us are referred for the painful shots and PT before anyone suggests surgery. I suppose it's a good route to take, because there are those who do well with the shots and PT. HOWEVER, when the MRIs, CT scans, etc., indicate that there is severe pressure on the nerves, bones are sliding out of place, etc., I believe they ought to get us in there and fix the structures as soon as possible. More of us would be without the lasting pain if we had our nerves relieved at an earlier date.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • i have rsd after a slip and fall 3 years ago...on my right ankle..because i was self employed i continued to work(i think that was a mistake )because the pain is speading it is now up to my knee and the back of my thigh....getting surgery for a spinal cord stim...i quit hairdressing in january09,not just dealing with chronic pain but to have not much of a quality of life,i have a five year old, i went to fertility clinic to have my son and he was oly 2 when this happen...im finding it realy hard to deal with all of this,dont want him to always see me like this..and it seems that the pain is getting worst....cant sleep cant walk cant work..ok,do you think that i should get this surgery or is their something els...had nerve blocks.didn t last more then 2 days..!!!!!
  • Injections have never worked for me, and for me theyre useless. Surgery has worked for me twice out of five. The two that worked for me were the first operations I had on those particular levels. My first on L5/S1 and first on L4/L5 worked greatly while three others I had on L5/S1 did not help. That tells you how ineffective surgeries get as you have more of them.
  • advertisement
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.