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Epidural on Friday

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Epidural on Friday
    Posted: May/27/2015 at 3:35pm
Although this doesn't quite qualify as a surgery, I'm anxious about it.

I had an epidural back around 2010 and I don't think it helped.  However, my neck is now much worse, with a lot of snapping and clicking that I formerly didn't have.

My friend who is a retired PT professor recommended "the" neck specialist in the area for the injection(s).  So, Friday morning I'm going to the local spine hospital and will have injection(s) into my cervical spine.

I've had to stop taking my hydrocodone this week, as it contains acetaminophen and so I'm using some oxycodone I still have around instead (my Pain doc knows -- so no contract issue).  Unfortunately, it makes me sleepy and so I've not been able to focus on work for the past couple of days. 

I've added a bit extra exercise to help keep me awake, but ug!  I hate feeling groggy.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/27/2015 at 4:31pm
Good luck, Peter,

It is probably worth a try since it's been so long since you've had an ESI, and as a "pain veteran", you most likely know about the benefits and the risks of steroid injections. 

Can I ask why you aren't allowed to take acetaminophen prior to this being done?  It's the first time I've heard of this as this isn't a drug that causes an increase in bleeding like NSAID's or aspirin, or decreases inflammation.  I'm just curious.

It would be great if you can get some relief from this.  I wish you the best, and hope it goes well for you.  Are you having some IV sedation?

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.

My journey with chronic pain began over 30 years ago, while as a young nurse working spinal rehab, I injured my back lifting a patient. I am now fused from L2-S1. I have multiple thoracic and cervical issues. I'm a retired RN/PA and I know and understand the frustrations on both ends of the treatment spectrum of dealing with CP. It's been my goal since 2008, when we started this site, to reach out and help as many people in pain as possible. We will continue the fight as long as we can. Please, if you can help us continue to help you and others, donate. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/28/2015 at 10:43am
Hi Stevie,

Stopping the acetaminophen was my mistake then.  I assumed it fell under the pre-procedure instructions for NSAIDs.

As for sedation, last time I was given Versed.  I assume that I'll again have the same.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/28/2015 at 11:46am
To be safe, please do ask your Dr about taking acetaminophen.

I'm glad you are having Versed. I had one ESI done once without sedation and would never do it again.

Best wishes for tomorrow!!!

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.

My journey with chronic pain began over 30 years ago, while as a young nurse working spinal rehab, I injured my back lifting a patient. I am now fused from L2-S1. I have multiple thoracic and cervical issues. I'm a retired RN/PA and I know and understand the frustrations on both ends of the treatment spectrum of dealing with CP. It's been my goal since 2008, when we started this site, to reach out and help as many people in pain as possible. We will continue the fight as long as we can. Please, if you can help us continue to help you and others, donate. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/30/2015 at 3:30pm
I made it through the procedure and will see how much it does for me.

So far today, besides the injection points, I think I'm in less pain -- but I've more or less been in bed vs. at my desk (until now). 

Surprisingly, the doctor didn't do any injections into my cervical spine, but only my upper thoracic.  After reviewing my MRIs & X-rays, plus talking with me, he didn't think the injections would help with the cervical issues.  He thinks they are mainly due to pressure on my cord vs. nerve roots.  But he did inject the upper thoracic.

He also was quite surprised by the shape of my upper thoracic -- the scoli curve has T2-T3 quite dramatically out of alignment and then T1 is malformed and significantly rotated... something he said he hasn't seen before.  He also wants to refer me to another doctor (who turns out to be the brother of my friend's friend)... and we'll see where that goes.

One little worry I have is that they gave me Ultiva in addition to Versed at the hospital.  That, I believe, technically violates my pain contract, but I've been with my pain doctor for about 7 years and he referred me for the procedure.  I'll be sure, though, to let him know at my next visit (in about 3 weeks).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bailey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/30/2015 at 3:55pm
Glad things went well on Friday. I hope you can get significant relief from the injections. What type of doc are you being referred to?
 
Don't think you should have any problems re meds and your pain doc. Like you said, he referred you and you'll be up front about what you received.
 
Hope your weekend has less pain and lots of laughs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/30/2015 at 4:12pm
I agree with Bailey-----no problem at all with Pain Med Dr.  Anesthesia is completely separate from everyday pain meds, so as long as you tell them what was used you'll be fine.

Best wishes for less pain.  I understand the pain of thoracic scoliosis, and I think injecting that area was a good choice.  Feel better soon!!  Stevie

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.

My journey with chronic pain began over 30 years ago, while as a young nurse working spinal rehab, I injured my back lifting a patient. I am now fused from L2-S1. I have multiple thoracic and cervical issues. I'm a retired RN/PA and I know and understand the frustrations on both ends of the treatment spectrum of dealing with CP. It's been my goal since 2008, when we started this site, to reach out and help as many people in pain as possible. We will continue the fight as long as we can. Please, if you can help us continue to help you and others, donate. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/31/2015 at 12:23pm
Hi,

So far I'm noticing some meaningful pain reduction.  Normally, bending forward would be immediately painful for me, but now I don't feel a thing.  In addition, there's almost no cracking/snapping in my neck as I move it. 

While I'm still having pain down my left arm and in some parts of my back, I think the injections took perhaps 50% of my pain issues away!  I'll give it a few days then I plan on dosing down on my pain meds and see how I do.

The injection doc wants to refer me to a neurologist who specializes in Scoliosis... mainly because he said that I should have someone who tracks the curve over time.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/02/2015 at 12:10am
Very Disappointed! Maybe the steroids reduced inflammation for a couple of days, but pain is back to normal. I'm trying to discern if there's any improvement, but I don't think so 😣

I'm not sure what to do now. I see my pain doc in a bit over two weeks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bailey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/02/2015 at 4:22am
Have you been keeping track of your pain since the injection? Even though your pain came back, that it went away for a time does have diagnostic value to your doc.
Did they mention the possibility of a rhyzotomy or radio frequency ablation? In that procedure they deaden the nerve for a time , some people have over a year of relief from it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/04/2015 at 11:26am
Well,  I'm now thinking that there has been some ongoing benefit.

On Sunday, I was feeling terrific and just over did it... gardening, home repairs, etc..  I paid for that Monday and Tuesday, but now recognize some modest improvement.  My neck is definitely moving better and I think I'm able to handle a bit more activity without pain.  As a result, I also think I have a bit more energy too.  I went driving around yesterday to take care of a few chores, got home, had a bit of a rest, and went out again, then still was able to make dinner. 

That's really good for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bailey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/04/2015 at 12:05pm
That's good news Pete.
Learning to pace ourselves is something many of us struggle with. It's easy to do exactly as you did.
 
But sometimes it's worth the price you pay and at least you know what caused the increase.
 
I'm going outside to most likely overdo it Embarrassed but the day is sunny and the yard is calling.
 
Hope tomorrow is even better than today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/04/2015 at 12:21pm
Pete----

Be careful as steroids (even the ESI's) can make us "feel" better than we really are and lead us to do way more than we normally would.  It's great to be able to do more, just don't over do it.  I hope you continue to see ongoing benefits.  Any "good" days are priceless as we all know.

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.

My journey with chronic pain began over 30 years ago, while as a young nurse working spinal rehab, I injured my back lifting a patient. I am now fused from L2-S1. I have multiple thoracic and cervical issues. I'm a retired RN/PA and I know and understand the frustrations on both ends of the treatment spectrum of dealing with CP. It's been my goal since 2008, when we started this site, to reach out and help as many people in pain as possible. We will continue the fight as long as we can. Please, if you can help us continue to help you and others, donate. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2015 at 10:26am
Well, it is now 2 weeks since my epidural and I think I have a sense of where things stand.

The injections were to a few vertibrae (C7-T1) and seem to have relieved some related areas.  In particular, the pain in my left shoulder and down my left arm has been absent.  I've also not had my standard numbness and tingling in the outer fingers of my left hand.  Neck and upper back pain are the same, however.

I see my Pain doctor on Thursday and wonder what to report.  They always ask me to rank my pain 1-10.  Has it gone down?  I'm not sure.  Maybe a way to express it is that my various pain areas generate pain 3-5 most of the time. 

So, say I formerly had 3 pain areas at level 4 (back, neck, arm).  Now I have 2 pain areas at level 4 (back, neck).  On the other hand, with fewer pain areas, I can control my pain better and so more often can get the total pain lowered.  So, there is a net reduction for total daily pain; but the bad periods of the day are still as bad. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2015 at 10:48am
It does sound as if enough inflammation was decreased to help nerve impingement.  I would report your pain levels just as you have here----and keep close track on how long you have the improvement in nerve type pain.

Any reduction is always good news.  I'm really glad you are one of those who did see some benefit from the ESI.

Please donate to help Chronicpainsite.com continue to help others.

My journey with chronic pain began over 30 years ago, while as a young nurse working spinal rehab, I injured my back lifting a patient. I am now fused from L2-S1. I have multiple thoracic and cervical issues. I'm a retired RN/PA and I know and understand the frustrations on both ends of the treatment spectrum of dealing with CP. It's been my goal since 2008, when we started this site, to reach out and help as many people in pain as possible. We will continue the fight as long as we can. Please, if you can help us continue to help you and others, donate. Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pete81241 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/14/2015 at 7:56pm
hi pete...good to meet you. i have been reading your thread and trying to understand the trouble you are having with pain.

by coincidence i had major fusion surgery in the same area that you are having pain...lower cervical and upper thorasic. i had facet hypertrophy as well as stinosis...

the good thing pete is that you have been able to work and keep up your reading despite the pain. its good that you will be seeing a neurologist and that your scoliosis will be monitored.

i believe you should also establish a relationship with a good orthopedic spine surgeon who can monitor the spine problem. spine surgeons are the most knowledgeable drs regarding your condition. you may never need surgery but at least you will be advised by the best. the surgery to fix scoliosis has become much better and less invasive that in the past. 

as bailey mentioned you might get longer relief with ablation of the nerves that are painfull. i had that done to the facets in the painfull area and recieved over two years of relief. of course i dont know whether its the facets that are giving you the pain.

is there any exercise that helps your pain?

you might try rubbing your hands on a table top to loosen joints that are painful...before doing this i also rub voltaren jell on the painful areas.

palpete
parkinsons disease.men1 genetic disorder. endocrine tumors in pituitary gland and pancreas. carpel tunnel syndrome. spinal stenosis.sleep apnea.vast knowledge of crutches and wheelchairs.borderline diabetic.gerd. both hips replaced. spinal stimulator. 7 spine surgeries/fusions. pain pump trial.Thrombocytopenia. no spleen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/16/2015 at 12:16am
I track my pain by breaking it down into 20 different areas of my body, focused more on the arms than anything else.  I also track my medication and then can see what areas are helped by what areas over many different times / days.  Its a lot of work to rank each area but wanted to let you know that your approach of breaking pain down into different areas is a good idea.  I only report the highest level for each day / time, and that is what I chart.  My logic is that my mental functioning is driven by the highest level of pain in my body, not some statistical average or by the closer the pain is to my brain or whatever.

I have had about a dozen epidural steroid injections and I have the same experience as you.  It helps me, it helps me not, it helps me, it helps me not.  We are all looking for the knockout blow but what that doesn't occur we are left to sort out the data from numerous observations, but I frankly don't think they ever helped me, but if they helped you, fantastic!
Ankylosing spondylitis & osteoporosis -> compression fractures -> facet & ligamentum flavum hypertrophy-> stenosis -> spinal cord & nerve root compression -> cervical myelopathy & radiculopathy -> bruise & deformation of my spinal cord -> incomplete spinal cord injury -> postlaminectomy syndrome of cervical region. Cervical laminectomy & fusion decompressed my cord but I now have severe chronic pain. Pain meds = Oxycontin, Percocet, Lyrica, Soma, Cymbalta, Voltaren Gel, & Ketamine pain cream. 11 surgeries including 5 orthopedic & 1 neurosurgery.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Entropete Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/20/2015 at 4:50pm
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the continuing comments.

I'm pretty down today.  For the past 3 weeks, I've been feeling the pain come back, bit by bit and with a storm front approaching, I'm just in terrible shape today.

I dread the idea of anything more invasive (ablation, fusion, etc.), but incrementally the pain is getting worse and meds are helping less. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bailey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/21/2015 at 4:00am
Hey Pete,
 
Sorry you're struggling. ESI's are always a temporary treatment.
 
 I thought I'd let you know that ablation is no more invasive than ESI's. The procedure is almost identical except instead of injecting steroid, they turn on the machine and it gives little bursts of radio frequency to ablate(burn, deaden) the nerves.
 
We have members who have gotten over a year of excellent relief from RFA's, aka rhyzotomy. Generally, if the nerve block or ESI provides some relief, the doc's know they're in the right area to relieve the pain and will go ahead with an RFA.
 
If so, I hope like many people, it will bring you long lasting relief.
 
 
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