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If Epidural #1 doesn't work, do you get another?
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If Epidural #1 doesn't work, do you get another?

Hello fellow back sufferers!

Am wondering if my first epidural did not work, is the second one a waste of time (and money!).

When my back was anesthetized I felt GREAT!!  But once that wore off, the pain came back much more aggressively. I was not able to walk for two days and feel absolutely no difference in the pain and weakness level.

The doctor ie, the one whose wallet is benefitting from giving the injections, says that the first one may not work and I should have three of them. I agreed to having two, but past that point, I don't understand their effective rate. The steroids are supposed to stay in your system for 6 weeks, why would you need an additional dose two weeks after the first?

So, has anyone had a shot with no relief, but had a 2nd one and finally got that relief?

Cheers!
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
what are your symptoms?
these injections really wont do very much if the problem is not in the spine itself. MOST BACK PAIN is muscular/postural and has nothing to do with findings on an MRI. Most people over the age of 30 have hernations/spondylosis/stenosis even.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know all that, thank you. I am so past all that. LOL
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm had the three set of injections and a rhizotomy. After the next injection, and your still in pain ask for a discogram and contrast CT to be done. I had the discogram done and the doctor said it showed nothing but the contrast CT showed that I have mild to moderate spinal stenosis, a mild disc buldge, So on that last set of injection (3rd) the doctor was able to place them better for me, but I'm still having pain.  If the doctor can target the areas better they can help, after the last set for me the pain was   better, but it's coming back again. I'm at the point where I wish the doctor would refer me out  so that I could have the minimally invasive spinal stenosis surgery. (I'm young yet only 41 and spinal stenosis already!) Good luck to you in what you choose to do.........  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments and sharing your experience.  I have already had a whole host of things done on me and my doctor said if the epidurals do not work, I have no other options but surgery.
I can't believe you didn't have more diagnostic and evasive procedures done BEFORE you had your injections. Did they use  flouroscopy while doing your injections?
I was just wondering if I should get a 2nd shot when I feel no difference from the first. It doesn't make sense to me. May I ask how long you were in pain BEFORE you had the epidurals?  How far apart were your injections?  How long did they last for you?
I hope you get the relief you deserve soon.
Cheers!
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Avatar_f_tn
The Chiropractor I have did send me for a lower lumbar MRI which showed lots of inflammation (Osteoarthritis), my pain levels when I went to the pain management clinic was 9 - 10+, after the first injections combination of epi's and nerve block pain levels went down for a few days and then came back. same thing for the second set of injections and the rhizotomy pain would come down and then go back up. Thats when they did the discogram and contrast CT scan. I think the doctor was amazed at the spinal stenosis I had. so with the third set (about 10 injections) he was better able to target it for me. I'm getting a new pain management doctor though and hopeing he orders an EMG next so they can find the nerves being effected by the spinal stenosis. This last doctor just wanted to do injections and get his money and never talked much to me the patient. I hope they treat you better, Have you had a EMG? my pain levels now are about 6 - 8 and I take vicodin at night to help, I need to drive durning the day so I just live with the pain and try to stay as active as I can, I use a cane ocassionally and try not to stay sitting down for to long of time frame.....sitting hurts more than anything..............
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, I have had an EMG and it showed nerve compression at L4-5.

If your pain level is 6-8, how are you able to drive? I won't try driving at 4-5 level of pain because it will shoot up very quickly from the sitting. I try extremely hard to get around, I can deal with the pain most of the time, but it's the weakness that keeps me down. The doctor said it's because the nerve is impinged and is not sending the proper signals to my brain and muscles to do their job.

I feel absolutely no relief from that injection, in fact it made me feel worse for a few days. I still have discomfort and numbness in my pelvis, thigh, back of knee and foot - not to mention my back.

It sounds as if you are able to stand and walk and still function on some level, so that is very good. Are you able to work? Did you have any side effects from the steroids like; nausea, dizziness, sweating, loss of appetite?

I understand what you mean about the Pain Center doctor just focusing on injections more than the patient. I have an appt. with my primary dr. on Fri. to ask him if I should go forward with another shot or break down and have the surgery that I have been putting off.
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Avatar_n_tn
@ first, I thought your suggestion and opinion is full of sarcasm esp. after reading 'd "lower back/abdominal pain by wombmate forum" way back 6/14/07 if i am right.... and i am not alone thinking like that...(if you could just read the other topic, there were several) but as i keep reading the rest of the other forum i find your opinion everywhere and I realized you were just trying to help and maybe you are just straight fwd. type of person...I am new to this forum thing and just like the rest I am desperate with 'd lower back/abdominal problem  and the doctors most of the time won't help. so, I decided to do some searching before having a great spending trip to the specialist maybe there are other ways and your opinion starting to make sense too....and I still want to share I have a strange solution for my problem 'coz I read one of the member mentioned putting pillows bet. your legs @ night when sleeping which I did and since Aug. 18, I never woke up with lower back prob. & I hope it won't comeback and I am going back to the gym.  Keep giving your opinion mike 1105. Doesn't matter if others do not agree, we are all here for same goal to seek help & solution.
Good Luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Sleeping with a pillow between the legs is a good idea and it does help, I too do that and chiropractor and at home exercises to help strenghten the back as well. But I still have pain from the spinal stenosis...Keep those ideas coming, thanks.........
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm a stay at home mom mainly because I have a daughter with a heart condition (Aortic Stenosis) that has some special needs occasionally. So I don't drive much or very often as long car trip hurt me too...I do the home exercises my chiropractor gives me and I just get out to walk when I can and that helps.
Yes I have some problems with the steroid injections too, so next time I'm going to start some probiotics from the health food store, I've heard these help...do a google search on "probiotics" and ask you pcp doc on friday okay........ Good luck to you "giveitback"  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the info, I wasn't aware you could take something "probiotics" to help with the side effects, I will definitely look into that.
How long have you been suffering with your condition? I am very happy that you can walk a bit. I am looking forward to making it out to my mailbox and back - who would have thought that would be such a task!
Good luck with everything, please keep me posted on what the neurologist finds out and what your next step is.
Cheers!
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Avatar_f_tn
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Avatar_f_tn
darn it they need a modify key on this board, Anyways I'm going for bloodwork tomorrow about 5 to 7 viles and I got an appointment with a new pain management doctor for next friday, My Chiropractor hand carried my chart to this doctor as it's just to big to copy it. So, I'm hopeing for things to go better, right now I'm kinda fighting an allergic reaction to a new medication and will have to take prednisone. Other than the pain in the back, stiff all over, the allergic reaction and a whacked out headache, I'm just quite well (lol)...................
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Avatar_f_tn
what did your Doctor say? any news yet?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Your last email was funny - nice attitude, I love that!  If we gotta be in pain, may as well make the best of it.

Well, my doctor said that the "side effects" I was feeling was not from the steroids, rather than they were flu-like symptoms. LOL....I was very happy to hear that and will proceed with the 2nd epidural this Friday. I am actually excited about the 2nd shot because when they put all that numbing stuff in there it feels SO GOOD!!  AWE, so great to not feel anything!  Of course, when it wears off....OWIE!!!  I am still hopeful and just love the abuse my body has been going through. lol

I have great news from the Pain Clinic. They are going to put me on an aggressive rehabilitation program where I go five days a week, two hours each session for eight weeks! I am so happy and am so ready to get myself back together. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this along with the epidurals will keep surgery at bay. This will be great for my muscles that have atrophied and also for the rest of my injuries.

Any new news from your doctor? DId I already ask you this, but did they use fluoroscopy xray while doing your injection? The pictures are cool they give out and the needle placement is extrememly accurate! Keep me updated!

Cheers!
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Avatar_f_tn
yep they use the fluoroscopy, I think its the only way they can see in the back to target those hard to reach area's.  Nice that they gave you picture s, I knew I forgot to ask for something.  Good luck to you on Friday, I go to a new Pain Management Doctor on Friday and will learn my fate then.........Although my upper back is now a little stiff,  just put me on that ironing board and I'll be good as new with all those wrinkles pressed out........Prayer's for you....Don't let this take away your humour sometimes in the midst of pain we need to laugh.......laughter is supposed to be good medicine too.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, I bet your gonna feel good for a little time today.  WooHoo!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

What did your new Pain doc say they are going to do for treatment? I am curious if it is similar to mine (see above).

The 2nd epidural was unfortunately more painful than the first  : (  but it usually takes at least 72 hours to feel relief if I am going to get any. So, that would be today! I will keep my fingers crossed.

Let me know how things are going.

Cheers!
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Avatar_f_tn
Didn't go so good. He seemed to think I have Fibromyalgia. Gave me prescriptions for mscontin, vicodin hp, a muscle relaxer and cymbalta. wanted to do a steroid injection in my left shoulder for which my brother injured and seemed to total ignor the fact that I had a contrast ct showing spinal stenosis. I took one mscontin and hated what it did to me,so I stopped taking it.  I just wanted some relief for the back pain but my shoulder was hurting pretty bad too.  Will start physical therapy for my arm soon, problem with pt is they like to go fast and last time I had physical therapy my asthma flaired up. I sure hope your feeling better today and that it'll last for a longer period of time. I don't think I have fibro and will see this Doctor one more time later in the month and see how things go then, or if I get another doctor.  
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