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what should I do? I need suggestions!

Hello everyone
I had a MRI in December showing Degenerative Disc Disease and 3 bulging discs between C-4 and C-5, C5-C6, C6-C7.
I went through 5 weeks of physical therapy and had ups and downs during it. I do feel better as I have bought a Saunders home traction unit and have been using that along with trying to stretch the area and exercise it. Anyway I went from a pain level of about a 7 or 8 and have been pretty consistent with a pain level between 1 and 4 since. Although the pain is not that high, it is very annoying.

I went back to see the neurosurgeon and he still suggests that I have the Epidural steroid injection. I have done a lot of reading and here all these horror stories about these injections and I am supposed to have my first injection tomorrow but I am not sure I should go through with it. It seems like this might go ahead and give me the extra boost to getting back to normal.

My wife is friends with the neurosurgeon’s Physician assistant and that is who I had seen and he recommends me get them. He is a very good guy and I don’t think he would steer me wrong but I am still unsure of it.
Can anyone make me feel better about the process?

Thanks for any info you want to share.



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    edited 03/13/2014 - 7:00 AM


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • There are a lot of horror stories on here about things that can go wrong. I have had 2 of the epidural injections and I also had 2 facet injections, both are xray guided but the facet injections go on the upper and lower facet joints of each joint (I had a total of 36 injections for each facet block). I honestly didn't get any relief from them but I wanted to try. I know a lot of people that have had them and never had any pain since then. There are people that tell you its only a band aid and people that tell you it will make things worse. What it does is it reduces the pain so you can go through physical therapy and return to your normal life while your body tries to heal itself. If my doctor was to tell me that one more would take my pain away I would tell him to do it now.

    They aren't really that painful, you feel a lot of pressure. I wasn't sedated or drugged in any way except where they numb the area to do the injection. I drove home myself with the doctors permission and they told me to resume my normal daily life as much as I could. You take a chance with everything you do, you could get the flu and infections from getting the flu shot. I don't think of an epidural as a bad thing, I would take one in a heart beat. Good luck
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  • Thanks jbnms99

    I do hate needles and to be honest that is what probably scares me the most. It will be guided with floroscopy or whatever it is called. I am going to take a valium before i go in, hopefully that will do the trick.
  • I also hate needles!!! The first one I was freaked out and my wife called me a wuss. It wasn't bad and you don't see the needle (probably for a reason). You feel a pinch then some pressure and it's done. I've had labs that hurt worse. Take the Valium if you need to but it'll be ok!
  • Well I went through with the injection and I have to say the Dr that did it, did a great job. It was a piece of cake as I barely even felt the first one and after that I felt the pressure right about the area that my body has been telling me the problem is. It felt pretty good. That was Friday and now it is Sunday. I think that it is helping! I am going to start doing my own PT at home and see if I can get through this with good results.

    Thanks everyone, I will keep you updated
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  • i just had my acdf done 72 hours ago and i feel great. even thought it was a single level discectomy i hope to give you some insight. i will attach my thread so you can read what my experiences are. i would advice you to go see multiple ns's and see whtat their opinions are. if you ddd and bone spurs are growing towards the spinal cord it will cause alot of discomfort. i have done every alternative treatments oit there from epidural shots (3x), pt, massage, accupuncture, cold and heat packs, tense units and traction. consulted with 3 chiropractors 2 out of the 3 said they did not want to touch me because it will make it worse. the third said some crazy notion that he can use the traction unit like a vaccum and suck back in the disc nucleus that herniated out and if that did not work after 6 months of treatments he would recommend surgery. hearing that i still had to get surgery done i was not convinced he could help me. since non of them worked, it actually made it feel worse. my last resort is surgery. so here i am 72 hours since my surgery and i feel great.

  • I am glad that you had the epidural and it has made you feel better. I know the thought of that huge needle and it being so close to your spinal cord it nerve racking but I believe in them. You have done your physical therapy long enough in the office that you shouldn't have any trouble doing the same thing at home, just be sure not to overdue it. Your body will tell you if you are, listen to it. Best of luck to you and hopefully you won't have any more problems out of it. My doctor told me that I should expect a minimum of 6 weeks relief from it. I really hope you get that.
  • Well my wonderful health insurance denied my second injection :-( I just cant believe how they can sit there and play doctor for me and dictate everything about my health. I am not real happy with them!
  • My 2nd about 2 weeks. I felt so good the day after the 2nd one, I took the kids school shopping & walked the whole mall, something I hadn't done in forever. Some people can get relief for up to a year, some get none at all. You describe your between 1 - 4 & annoying more than anything else. If this doesn't last long, you may want to consider whether or not you want to do any more procedures. If you are no more than a 4, though the help of some pt, you are in good shape. I hope the epidural continues to work well for you.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • Michael_BMichael_B Posts: 23
    edited 04/15/2014 - 1:25 AM
    I read several comments from people who claim 30 years of living with cervical bulges, without the need to have surgery (one stated 'pain comes and goes over the years'). I wonder if they lived periods of complete pain free or were always at some annoying 1+.
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