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Cervical Epidural Inj + Occipital Nerve Block = Fail

dharvellddharvell Posts: 98
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:44 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
In my continuing trek to find a doctor who understands the pain that I have been in over these past 6 years, I was just referred to a pain clinic (been there, done that, but never had injections). As the title states, I had a cervical epidural and an Occipital nerve block to help prevent cervicogenic headaches.

Here we are one week and one day post-injections and I have to say that I actually feel WORSE. My neck is stiff to the point of near immobility and the headaches are debilitating.

I go back for a follow up on July 19. Kind of wonder what is next on the doctors' seemingly endless list of useless ways to mask the symptoms, rather than tackle the problem, directly...?


  • I had no luck with the epidural, just as you only I had tried the cervical facets first. I tried to be cooperative after the facet failure and I was amazed how all that cortisone could not make me feel more comfortable.
    I was told if shots fail that they then treat with medication and physical therapy.
    The past few days the pain is creeping back through the MS contin I am on. It's creepy, though, FEELING the cervical syndrome going on inside your neck and head and for it to not have the sharp edge of pain that I had before. It doesn't look too hopeful right now.
  • Wow... I can definitely relate. They kind of went the opposite route, with me... starting with physical therapy (that made things flare up, quite a bit). I'm on some (in my opinion) low-grade pain killers (Norco 10/325 and MSIR 30mg). Neither of which really gives much relief for very long. So, they tried the epidural/occipital nerve block. I feel WORSE after that. They don't want to consider surgery, because of my age (I'm 36). So, everyday is a battle just to live. That burning, sharp, dull, achy, poking pain. To make matters a bit worse, I hear that doctors here in western Michigan are not very "good" at cervical spine issues. Yikes.
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  • luck with epidural injections...had both lumbar and cervical. I had so much more pain afterward and cried my eyes out in frustration. I guess I just ASSumed they would work. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider the train wreck I experienced. Now, believe it or not, I get more relief from trigger point injections in the cervical area. I can have 4 a year and I can really tell a difference in the pain level. I hope you find some relief....I've been searching for 6 years myself. Mine is from a MVA...got rearended by an old man who should have never had a license to be on the road.
  • DH I'm with you - why aren't they looking to fix the problem? I have roughly the same issues that you have along with severe arthrosis at c6/7. My new surgeon is suggesting doing an anterior surgery to remove the offending bone and I'm guessing use rods and screws to stabilize. I'm sure that somewhere along the way the will also be some fusion in there.

    He did want to do injections to see if that takes care of the pain - or I guess maybe to see if it inflames it.

    I am on 2700 mg a day of neurontin which takes care of 90% of the pain. The rest is reasonably manageable with occasional flareups.

    I'm very puzzled by how differently doctor approach our problems. I had gone back to the surgeon who did my microD at T1/2 and he thought I needed a fusion at that level now. Never looked at the MRI that showed problems higher up.

    I am now trying to decide if I am ready to see another surgeon yet or if I want to gather more info. I'm prepared for another surgery but I want this to be the last one for a while (we all know one spinal surgery leads to another eventually).
  • Like Kris, I'm puzzled why some doctors won't treat the underlying problem, yet continue to keep you on meds. Don't get my wrong, I understand the need for you to at least have medication to help at whatever levelit can, but why in the world woudn't they operate on you to correct the problem at age 38? I realize that's relatively young in terms of the life of our spines, but if you have stenosis and spurs, well - you have stenosis and spurs. I'm a firm believer that spine pain sufferers need to have the root of the problem taken care of instead of just handling pain.

    I personally know how painful stenosis can be as well as the spurring that presses on the cord and/or nerves. I've had both of those problems in both my cervical and lumbar areas.

    I hope that you continue with your trek to find the right doctor that will take care of the underlying problems instead of trying to keep putting on bandaid after bandaid.

    I was lucky to find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon who specializes in severe cervical problems as well as fixing botched cervical surgeries. My cervical problems were very serious and he did a fantastic job. I'd really like to hear that you've found a surgeon that understands that bandaids aren't a cure and oftentimes don't even help with the ongoing pain.

    Keep up the good fight. Do what you have to do to find the right doctor for you - they're out there somewhere. Maybe you'll need to travel out of state. Maybe you have family in another state that has a good surgeon that will help you and you can stay with them after the surgery?

    Anyway, I'm wishing you luck on finding a solution. I believe that stenosis is something that almost always requires surgery to get pain relief - after all, how do you open the passages to relieve the nerve compression without doing it surgically? What conservative measure is out there that can fix this?

    Take care. I'm really hoping your trek takes you to the right doc an that you finally find relief.

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  • Our bodies method of fixing bone injury in the spine is to reinforce the bone with more bone. Thus, we get bone spurs. In most cases, the injury is caused by the inflammation of arthritis.

    Surgery is a more extreme trauma (injury) to the bone than arthritis is. If surgery is done, the body is going to reinforce the injury with even MORE bone and at a FASTER rate than it did with the arthritis damage. That is why repeated surgeries are necessary after the initial (first) surgery. Surgery actually does more damage than the arthritis did (or whatever caused the damage - your doc knows what occurred). Even though you may get relief from surgery...it's only for a period of time.

    There are only so many times that these surgeries can be performed on the same area. THAT is why you're too young for surgery...unless you're in danger of cord compression that will render you paralyzed - in which, surgery is an absolute necessity.

    Medications may be a "band-aide" but they truly are the lesser of two evils.

    I'm not a doctor but you can verify the information I've just given to you with your doctor or research online.

    Best Regards,
  • Jill AnnJJill Ann Missoula MTPosts: 11
    Find a good neurosurgeon who will operate.  Years of this pain just isn't worth it.  I find mentally I can't perform as well as I want. It's like carrying an albatross around your neck continually.  Maybe the cure is temporary, but if it works for a few years, at least you can live your life without pills and mental deficiencies. The key is an excellent doctor who will be frank with you and give your good information. This would be your second opinion.
    Jill Dahl  :)
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