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I'd like to hear about your experience on spinal injections for ba...
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I'd like to hear about your experience on spinal injections for back pain.

So FINALLY I'm set to go in for spinal injections on Dec 1st for this back pain I've been having for the last 3 years. Xrays and all that don't show anything, not even MRI's show anything and they haven't ever shown anything to account for my pain.

The pain mgmt Dr. thinks that I had a muscle injury when I fell that for some reason hasn't ever healed as it should and 3 years later I still deal with chronic lower back pain just to the right of my spine.  Some of you know this but I fell down the stairs shortly after my first son was born and hit my back on the stairs. I've been on so many different therapies including the narcotic methods like morphine and now Nucynta (sp?).
He told me that they're going to sedate me some to take the edge off and then do the shots.
For those who had the injections, what kind did you have?    

Did they just give the corticosteriod or did they put in some numbing medication with it?

How well did they work?

I know it may not work for more than a few months or they might work fine and I may not require extra treatments
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Hi Martika,

I am so sorry to hear about your injury to your back.  It looks like you are getting good care from your physician.

It sounds like they are planning to do trigger point injections.  I have never had those, I have only had lumbar epidural steroid injections (5 of them so far).  I have lumbar degenerative disc disease with lumbar radiculopathy.  1 bulging disc impinging on the S1 nerve root and 1 ruptured disc moderately indenting the thecal sac.  I also deal with myofacial pain syndrome (fancy term for muscular pain).  For me, the injections help a lot but for only a short time (4 to 6 weeks) and they are repeated every 3 months.

But not everyone gets relief from either trigger point or epidural injections.  The way the body responds to the injections is different for everyone such that some get substantial pain relief and others get no pain relief at all.  

I really hope the injections help for your pain.  If your MRI came up with nothing, it is likely that your spine is okay.  You may be left with chronic pain as a disease from your injury such that the pain signals keeps firing up to the brain even after the injury has healed.  A lot of times when this happens, it is due to nerve damage.  I don't know if you have tried neurontin or lyrica but these anti-convulsant medications used off-label for nerve pain have been very helpful for many of us here.  I myself take neurontin.  Something additional to consider in the management of your pain.  

You could also try self-accupressure through use of a theracane.  I have found this therapy to be very effective at reducing my pain levels.  And in fact I need to jump on that therapy right now but this pain is getting riddiculous!  But the theracane is used to apply deep pressure to the trigger points located in your back, buttocks, legs, shoulders, neck, feet and arms.  These trigger points send radiating pain from the source and deep pressure applied to these trigger points with a deep rotating massage through use of the theracane has been very helpful with getting the trigger points to "turn off" temporarily.  

I hope your injection(s) go well and feel free to keep us updated on how you are doing.

femmy
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Hi Martika,

I am so sorry to hear about your injury to your back.  It looks like you are getting good care from your physician.

It sounds like they are planning to do trigger point injections.  I have never had those, I have only had lumbar epidural steroid injections (5 of them so far).  I have lumbar degenerative disc disease with lumbar radiculopathy.  1 bulging disc impinging on the S1 nerve root and 1 ruptured disc moderately indenting the thecal sac.  I also deal with myofacial pain syndrome (fancy term for muscular pain).  For me, the injections help a lot but for only a short time (4 to 6 weeks) and they are repeated every 3 months.

But not everyone gets relief from either trigger point or epidural injections.  The way the body responds to the injections is different for everyone such that some get substantial pain relief and others get no pain relief at all.  

I really hope the injections help for your pain.  If your MRI came up with nothing, it is likely that your spine is okay.  You may be left with chronic pain as a disease from your injury such that the pain signals keeps firing up to the brain even after the injury has healed.  A lot of times when this happens, it is due to nerve damage.  I don't know if you have tried neurontin or lyrica but these anti-convulsant medications used off-label for nerve pain have been very helpful for many of us here.  I myself take neurontin.  Something additional to consider in the management of your pain.  

You could also try self-accupressure through use of a theracane.  I have found this therapy to be very effective at reducing my pain levels.  And in fact I need to jump on that therapy right now but this pain is getting riddiculous!  But the theracane is used to apply deep pressure to the trigger points located in your back, buttocks, legs, shoulders, neck, feet and arms.  These trigger points send radiating pain from the source and deep pressure applied to these trigger points with a deep rotating massage through use of the theracane has been very helpful with getting the trigger points to "turn off" temporarily.  

I hope your injection(s) go well and feel free to keep us updated on how you are doing.

femmy
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Hello, I have had a million injections. In my lower, med and cervical spine. I have 9 herniated disks all in my spine. The process in very easy, and Im glad you are being sedated, some Dr's do not sedate and that hurts like a ****.  I was usually sore for the first 2 days, you must have someone drive you home ( and they do check that you have a ride) Go home and ice it and rest. Eat lightly. Next day you can work just take it easy. It usually takes about 5 dyas to feel some results. I have had very good results in my neck, and no results in my lower back. It all just depends. I think it has alot to do with how good your Dr is and how good their aim is and also how good you are at explaining exactly where your pain is. I have since had a spinal cord stimulator implanted and have not needed any injections since feb 20011. But my neck is starting to act up so I may in in for some soon. I wish you best of luck. Let me know how you make out. ............


Denise
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femmy I also have suffered for years with radiculpathy pain and have found tremendous relief using neurontin however I would appreciate it if you could tell me more about 'theracane' is this a device and where can they be purchased?
thanks....O
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I have had two trigger point shot over the years and they always helped.  
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Hi Opus,

A theracane is a candy cane like object that has little nobs on the various ends of it.  If you google "theracane", websites where you can purchase along with website showing techniques will pop up.  Also google "trigger points" and a couple of websites should pop up that show where all of the various trigger points are located on the body and which ones cause radiating pain to a particular area.  I find this very useful as I can target the specific trigger points that are causing radiating pain up the sides of my lower back or pain down the sides of my thighs, etc.  Most times where the pain is, is not where the pressure needs to be applied.  

I got mines about 10 years ago when I was going through physical therapy.  It is really good at breaking up the thick bands of muscle that sometimes surronds the triggerpoints throughout the body.  Breaking up these thick bands of muscle through applying deep pressure and massage by use of the theracane has been very helpful at relieving the radiating pain that comes with radiculopathy and myofacial pain syndrome.  It has been way more helpful than a deep tissue massage and much cheaper too!  The massage therapists could never get as deep as I requested but the theracane does.  

When you hear a lot of popping during the theracane therapy it means that you are breaking up those thick bands of muscle.  Be sure to drink lots of water afterwards and stretch out the deeply massaged areas well.  You may also find it helpful to take a low dose of an anti-inflammatory (200 mg of alleve works very well for me) to reduce the inflammation caused by the self-accupressure.  After that, the pain relief can last up to a month for me.  However when first starting out, it is best to use it more frequently as the muscle tissue is more resistant at first but over time the muscle tissue becomes more compliant and doesn't knot back up so quickly.  If you do decide to try it, let me know how it goes!  :)  Oh, and it is also great for deep massage of the feet and arms and legs too!  And, it works wonders at loosening tight shoulders and the muscle tissue on the sides of the lower part of the neck.  

femmy
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wow thankyou that looks like the cats meow...so to speak lol.
there must be 100 retailers listed, I'm in Canada so will have to browse abit to see the best shipping deal etc....
I've been doing 'self' acupressure for years..usually using something like a soup can or hard ball...this looks much more versatile.
thanks again.
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You're very welcome!  It is quite the spa treatment for sure! :)  

You'll notice that there are shorter ones probably arm's length and much longer ones.  They didn't have the longer theracanes when I got mines 10 years ago but the longer ones are supposed to be better as you can make your feet do most of the work versus using your arms and hands.  

Oh and yes, I used to use the good ole' tennis ball as well until at one of my physically therapy appointments, the therapist handed me this candy cane looking thing and I asked, "what's that crazy thing?".  She showed me how to use it and told me to give it a try and I have been in love ever since! lol!

femmy  :)
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Thanks so much for responding!
The Doctor told me that the injections they're gonna do are deeper than the regular ones, I guess to right near the spine so they can get to the nerve roots?

I know specifically where my pain is and can literally draw a circle where it starts and radiates to.
Thanks for the info on the Theracane and accupressure. I've practiced deep tissue massage (as well as I cld manage myself) on the area and it's helped some so I'm very interested in the Theracane.

Opus88~ I currently take Neurontin 1200mg 3x a day  and it helps TREMENDOUSLY.... otherwise I'm hurting so badly that I can't function.


I called the Pain mgmt office today to be sure everything was settled and I need xrays right now (and they won't show anything).
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Hi Martika,

I believe you are getting an epidural injection versus a trigger point injection based on your description of the injection in your last post.  I have had 5 of these so far.

They will inject the epidural needle into the epidural space and inject a powerful steroid medication that will bathe the nerve roots and reduce the inflammation as inflammation causes pain signals to be sent up the spinal cord to the brain.

Please let us know how your injection goes on the first!

femmy  :)
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Thanks for the info on the injections!

I found an instructional video online on spinal injections and how they're given. Basically that type of spinal injection is about the same as when a woman gets a spinal for a C-section?

When you have had the Epidural injections do you remember if they put in any numbing medication along with the steroid medicine?

Or did they just go ahead and put only the steroid medication in by itsself?
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Hi Martika,

You are absolutely correct that it is same type of injection used during labor but the injection is typically much lower if you are getting a lumbar epidural.  I had a C-section as well and the epidurals during labor were much worse than this as you feel your heart racing and other weird stuff because they are injecting a narcotic medicine.

They will most likely inject the area with lidocaine first.  This is how they have done it every time with me.  And to me, the lidocaine injection is the worst part as it stings a little bit.  You may only feel pressure when the epidural needle is inserted (sometimes there is a little pain but I only felt slight pain the first few times and after that, it was only pressure) .  They should use an X-ray machine to properly place the needle which is hooked to an IV machine like device.  Once the epidural needle is properly placed, they turn on the machine and the medicine flows in (usually medrolprednisone) and you're done!  :)

They put you in observation for 15 minutes after the procedure and then you can go home and rest.  :)

femmy
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Thanks! and a Late Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a good one.  An update:
The doctor reviewed my Xrays and found nothing (but I knew that already!)

Your right that the worst part of the epidural is the lidocaine. The darn needle stings bad when it goes in to numb the area. I'm talking about when I have had them for my Csections.

They are gonna use Fluoroscopy during the procedure (I'm familiar with so many things medical wise, lol)

How many injections should I be getting?  
Just the one actual spinal injection or several?

Does having the injction cause your pain to worsen for a while afterwards?
If so, how long did it worsen the pain for you after your injections?

I'm asking because we're moving hopefully on the 5th to our new house and Im hoping to at least be able to help a lil
.  
THANK YOU again!
Cindie
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Hi Cindie,

Thanks for the update.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!  Mines went pretty well, a lot better than last year as I have had several med changes since then.  I was worried because my epidural has worn off and I am scheduled for another on the 29th of Dec.  But my medications worked very well!  I was standing up cooking for 6 hours and I just felt some stiffness in my legs which wasn't too bad.  My medications begin to wear off 2 hours before bedtime.  And that is when the pain in my lower back hit me but luckily I was done cooking and I was able to just relax in my chair.

The epidural injection will probably give you some immediate relief.  This is mostly due to the lidocaine injected.  As the anesthetic wears off the pain will come back and last for 24 to 48 hours.  It takes a couple of days to a week for the medication to begin to reduce the inflammation.  So I think it is likely that you will be able help out with moving into your home on the 5th.  That is so exciting!  Congrats on your new home!  :)

I am glad that you found out that they plan to use fluroscopy!  This is fabulous as many people that have said the epidurals didn't work, didn't have the needle inserted precisely through the use of fluroscopy or X-ray.

I am going in for my 6th injection at the end of Dec but I know it isn't a long term solution for pain relief.  I have noticed less pain after each injection wears off so I think repeating it at least 4 times (or every 3 months for a year) may be beneficial to you.  The shooting pains through my gluts and down my legs are almost nonexistant now but I still have the low back pain.  The reason why they shouldn't be repeated indefinitely is because the medication reduces your bone density with long term use which can lead to arthritis.  I think it would be good to start taking supplemental calcium if you plan on getting repeat injections.  I take a One a Day womens in the morning along with 2 doses of Caltrate during the day.  Since you are taking neurontin, you want to make sure that you wait 2 hours after your last neurontin dose to take the calcium as taking it within 2 hours of taking the neurontin will reduce the effectiveness of the Neurontin.

I do plan on continuing the epidurals for at least another year.  I switch to a different insurance in January that I am excited about as I won't need a referral anymore to see a specialist and I will have more choices when choosing a physician.  I am hoping that I can get my pain more under control with pain medication such that I won't need the injections as frequently anymore due to the concerns I have with bone loss from frequent injections over the long term.  

Be sure the rest the full 24 hours after the injection.  The nurses always tell me to lie on the side that hurts the most so that the medication will flow to that area.  I don't know how much that has really helped, it kinda sounds like an old wives tale but I do it anyway in hopes that it will bring more pain relief! lol!

Please keep me updated on how you feel after you have your injection.  I know how debilitating lower back pain can be.  Almost every activity requires movement of the lower spine and I know those activities can be excruciating when pain hits every time you do something that requires movement that area.

I am very glad that the neurontin is helping with your pain.  I take 600 mg twice a day but I noticed in one of your earlier posts that you take 1200 mg three times a day.  So I wonder if an increase in the neurontin versus changes to my narcotic medications, will give me more relief as I did experience a significant drop in pain after first starting neurontin.

femmy

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Our thanksgiving was good. I was on my feet about 5 hours which was not fun but the medication took care of the worst of my back pain. I was sore and uncomfortable and we braved Walmart for early Black Friday at 10pm-midnight to get a high def flat screen TV (hubby wanted it....) that s*cked and my feet hurt like heck afterwards.

Thanks for the tip on the Neurontin and Calcium. I take a daily vitamin as well as 5mg of folic acid since we are TTC for baby #3 (i'm not currently pregnant and won't fine out for 2 more weeks so this injection is timed perfectly)

The Neurontin helps my pain immensely since it's due to nerve damage and my muscle's also tightening up. I'm on Flexeril for that but the insurance won't cover the amt I'm supposed to be on 4xday so I am on 3xday.
Due to TTC (trying to conceive) I'm actually trying to not take much as that combined with my seizure med Keppra causes folic acid in my system to be lower. That's why I take 5MG instead of 400mcg's that are in my women's daily vitamin.

Thanks for the tip of lying on the side that hurts afterwards. Im going to be sure and rest the entire day tomorrow. I can't believe in the morning I'm gonna be having the injection.
I have spoken with the girl to double check my appointment and had a few questions answered. She said to just make a list of any questions for the doctors and that it could take 1-3hrs and that they do numb the area first before placing the epidural needle.
I go in at 10am....  And I'll update afterwards.

Thanks and talk to you later!

Cindie
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I've been going to a spine pain management specialist for over a year. I've had three of the spinal epidurals ( which is what ins will cover) had two of the nerve blocks ( different times) then recently he did this new procedure called "RFA".
After that procedure, I was in a great deal of pain, the doctor told me that is normal and asked if I brought along some of my pain medication. I take oxycodone,  and neurotin. I still live in pain. I have a pinched/sciatic nerve & three compressed discs. I have tried physical therapy, chiropractic treatment & now all these treatments with the pain specialist. There are days the pain is so unbearable. I hate taking all the meds, but I have no choice if I want to have somewhat of a life. I refuse to have a neurostimulator placed into my spine, all that is ( a tens unit inserted in spine & electrodes hooked up to the nerves). There are so many people who had them placed & regret it. So that is not an
option for me. Plus I had to watch this video about it & that made up my mind.
I hope & pray that someday there will be a fix to this problem, so we do not have to live in pain for the rest of our lives.
God Bless
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I had the spinal epidurals and the doctor said I have spinal stenosis that's impenging on a nerve and said something about me haveing Degenerative Disk Disease.

The Versed didn't do anyhting for me and the shots hurt like hell but as I am sitting here typing this, my back does NOT hurt! I'm happy for now but know the numbing med will wear off by sometime tomorrow so hopefully this works for a while. I can't say how awesome it is to have NO pain...

Lets see how things go.

OHBOYDUKE~ I'm sorry your dealing with such pain! Hopefully you can find a treatment that works.  

Cindie
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Hi Cindie,

I am glad that you are at home resting and that your epidural injection went okay without any complications!

I am sorry to hear that the injection was very painful for you.  I know my first injection was somewhat shocking to the system as I was apprehensive about experiencing something I have never felt before.  Perhaps I have become accustomed to the pain during the injection and hopefully you will too if they help and you want to do repeated injections.  I am glad to hear that your low back pain reduced significantly after the injection.  How is your back feeling now?

Wow!  I know in your earlier posts you were saying that the doctors said that there was nothing structurally wrong with your spine so hearing that they discovered spinal stenosis and DDD were shocking to read!  I also have degenerative disc disease (DDD).  On my MRI scan all the discs from my neck to upper low back show very light grey colored discs.  The last two discs in my low back are blackened.  The PA in neurosurgery said that the discs darken when they lose fluid and that it is part of the degenerative disc disease cycle.  Once they lose fluid, they don't absorb shock as well when they are compressed when the spine moves.  This can cause pain but most do not experience pain from this.  We are in the minority.  Both of those blackened discs have different degrees of herniation.  I do not have spinal stenosis but I have a friend that does.  

Spinal stenosis is a fancy term for narrowing of the spinal canal.  Folks with spinal stenosis and DDD tend to experience more pain than those with just DDD because the disc herniations don't have far to travel before they push on nerve endings because the canal is narrowed.  My friend ended having to have a microdiscetomy (sp?).  The incision was extremely small ( a few centimeters) and they simply go in and remove the part of the disc that is bulging.  She told me that the injections didn't work for her.  But recently, she has been having another sciatica flare up and is taking oral steroids versus having them injected.  Her surgery was about 3 years ago.

I am glad they were able to determine a diagnosis and the reason why you are experiencing the sciatica.  I also have a disc that is pushing on a nerve and the other has ruptured and the inner contents are spilling out and indenting my spinal cord.  I know surgery may be in the cards for me someday but like you, I am trying to manage with medications and other modalities.

That is so great to hear that you are still continuing your baby plans!  The friend I just talked about is trying to conceive too.  In fact, she was telling me that the extra baby weight when she was carrying her first actually reduced her pain because the weight caused her spine to curve more naturally as she has a very straight spine.  I hope that you may find similar relief through pregnancy as well.  

I never do the Black Friday thing but I think it is fabulous you were able to get a great deal on a HD TV.  We really need to make that leap.  Every time I see one, the picture clarity is unbelivable.  I imagine being able to watch my favorite movies on one of them.  Enjoy!

I am anxious to hear how things are going now, almost 4 days after the injection.  The inflammation should have started to go down by now.

femmy
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Right now, on day 4 post procedure my back is feeling better, ALOT better. I'd say my regular pain when not taking pain meds would normally be about and 7-8 on a scale of 1-10 but now it's about a 3 and I've even had moments of NO pain usually when just sitting or laying down.
When he did the injections I didn't just have one, I had 3 I think. L3-5 and I think the pain was from when he "tickled" the nerves while trying to place the needle properly. It reminded me of when I had my spinal for my 2nd son's Csection birth.

I'm actually able to lay down and sleep some which was nearly impossible before. It is crazy how much of a difference the injections made. Going into the procedure I tried to be as positive as possible because I had good results with my knee.
My sister and I stayed up REALLY late last night so I went to bed late (6am late!) and ended up sleeping badly, tossing and turning. My back was bothering me when I got up but it wasn't horribly bad like it normally would be.

The nerve pain I had before wasn't specifically Sciatica pain, it didn't travel down my legs or butt. I was suprised to get that diagnoses of DDD and Spinal Stenosis as well but before seeing this specialist, the doctors had just gone off of kindof old Xrays and hadn't actually been spine specialists and I know that he got a better view DURING the procedure since they used fleuroscopy so I think that's why I finally got a diagnoses. The narrowing of the spinal canal must be kindof mild or something and maybe that's why it wasn't noticed on the Xrays before.

As for pregnancy, when I was pregnant with my 2nd son Mason (after the injury) my pain was intensified to the point that all I could do was cry sometimes. Hopefully we will conceive right away (or maybe already have, lol) and my pain will be lessened at least the first few months.  Unlike your friend, I deal with mild scoliosis but I can't remember which way my spine curves.

The HD TV is something hubby REALLY wanted and for a while he was saying he wanted a 3D TV But I don't really notice a big difference when trying the glasses and stuff on in the store so to me it's not worth paying an extra $500...
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Hi Cindie,

I had no idea that they had 3D TVs out there for sale.  I think I only attended one 3D movie in the past and the glasses didn't do anything spectacular and for an extra $500 I wouldn't buy one either.  I bet that they will eventually have the option of switching to 3D within an HDTV.  Now that would be nice as I could turn it off when I like or all the time actually unless my son was watching as I know he would want 3D on all the time.  I am a little behind the times on a lot of things.  My cell phone is just a regular old phone that rings LOL.  It has texting and browsing but that is it, it isn't a smart phone.  I have now just been thinking about getting one as they have reasonably priced unlimited data plans versus when they first came out my friends were screaming at the bill from being on facebook on their phones all day!  Now there is a lot more functionality than just facebook so I think this Christmas may be the time to finally cave in and get one.  :)

As for the results from your procedure!!!  Astounding!  It is so fabulous to hear that you are having such great results from your injection.  It does sound like your injections were quite a bit more precise than the ones that I have been getting.  I just get one injection.  But this month is the last month with my current insurance and I am switching at the beginning of the next year.  I am hoping that the increased cost will equal better care.  I had to have 2 referrals from my PCP to neurosurgery and from neurosurgery to anesthesia.  I asked about other options and they told me I needed another referral!!!  It took five years of back and forth to get the one I have and I just said screw it!  LOL

So with fluoroscopy, they must actually insert a camera like device into the epidural space???  That's amazing.  I just had a simple x-ray which they used to verify it was in the proper place and then they would tweak it if is wasn't before injecting the medicine.  

It sounds like the pain you experienced during the injection was well worth it!  I am so very happy for you!  

Like you, my pain levels went up when I was pregnant significantly.  I went out on disability 6 months before term cause I had great trouble walking from the sciatica.  I hope as well that this injection will reduce the pain you experience during your next pregnancy or current pregnancy.  :)

So it sounds like you are going to be able to be an active part in the move to your new home tomorrow.  

I think that maybe just maybe there may be some additional benefits to come from this injection as it is still at work reducing the inflammation, such that you may be able to sleep a little better in the next few days.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to post all of this great news!  

Wishing you many more days of pain relief! :) Take care.

femmy
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Lol, I've got the Evo Shift. Hubby got it for me last Mother's Day after selling the Ipod Touch I never used to my brother to help pay foer it....
It's nice!
Unlimited everything including internet for $200 for 3 phones through Spr***  (incase I can't include company names)

Our move now will hopefully be next monday or tuesday (which would b AWESOME)
I slept GREAT last night 11:30-5 when hubbies alarm went off. lol.... MIL got up with my 2nd son so I got to sleep til 9:30 after being up at 6 to put TJ on the bus (hes 3y 4m...)

You said it took 5 yrs of back and forth for all this bull witht he referrals. It took me 3 yrs including the pregnancy... I'm happy at this point with the results of my injections but think I may needs something mild like vicoden occasionally for my back pain but the DR told me that he wants to see me in 2 weeks to evaluate the results. Maybe by then it'll be better.... I hope so!

I'm SUPER excited about the move and about finding out if I'm preggo or not. If you want we can keep up private messaging and stay in contact....
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Before continuing with these injections you need to be aware that they have been implicated as a major cause of adhesive arachnoiditis.  The arachnoid is the covering of the spinal cord, named because it resembles a spiderweb.  In arachnoiditis, the arachnoid becomes inflamed and it causes HORRIBLE pain.  If it is severe enough to progress to the adhesive stage the nerves inside the spinal cord begin to stick together and form clumps of scar tissue instead of remaining as individual nerves.

This doesn't show up immediately following the injections.  It can take as little as 6 months to as long as a few years but the pain can be anything from aching as though you just overexerted yourself in the milder cases to excruciating nerve pain needing lifelong pain management in the severe cases involving the adhesion.  It is incurable.  A doctor who has this condition has written a book about it and describes it as "living with the pain of cancer without the release of death."  

I developed this in late 2001 following spinal surgery in March of 2001.  The surgery itself was a complete success, however the myelogram that I was given before the surgery was the cause of the adhesive arachnoiditis.  I have already completely lost the use of my right leg once and, while I got it back after intense physical therapy, I have been told that there will come a day when one or both legs will go out and not come back.  I went from simply having disc problems in my neck repaired to becoming a lifelong chronic pain patient who cannot function without a narcotic pain meds regimen that would be enough to drop a bull elephant.

Please do a Google search on adhesive arachnoiditis and read as much as you can on the condition before deciding to have any more epidural injections.  If you would like to know anything else about my personal experiences please feel free to message me.

Ghilly
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Thank you for the info. I appreciate it and will look into it.
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Hi Cindy,

My hubby has a ipod touch.  They are really neat but everything is so small and it is hard to type the right letters using the touch keys.  I would like to get a blackberry or something similar that has the keyboard attachment.  That sounds like a great deal that you got on your phone service.

I would love to continue to talk with you and hear updates on how you are doing.  I am so happy to hear you are sleeping well and feeling better and better each day.  I will send you a friend request through MedHelp shortly.

I have recently been diagnosed with gall bladder disease and I am currently awaiting surgery to get my gall bladder removed.  It has been making me very sick.  It may derail my scheduled epidural at the end of this month.  But as of now, that is still a go as they can't get me in until January.  I was really sick yesterday, almost needed to have an ambulance take me to the hospital.  The symptoms are triggered after eating.  I just ate a bagel after not eating since Wednesday night.  I am feeling a little uneasy but not full blown sick.  My surgeon said if I get another full blown attack before they can get me in for surgery, I need to go to the ER and they will book me for emergency surgery.  Once it is out, I guess everything will be normal again.  Can't wait!!

So glad to hear you are moving into your new house soon!  I know you must be so very excited.  I see your little guys in your MH picture.  They are adorable!  :)

femmy
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I am very sorry to hear about what has happened to you.  It sounds very painful.  I looked it up on wikipedia.  What is a myelogram?  (I guess I could look that up as well)  

There are always risks with every procedure.  Not saying this to make what you said seem any less important.  I do know; however, that epidurals in the lumbar spine have a lower risk for complications than the thoracic and cervical spine regions because typically the injection occurs below the spinal cord.  However, both Cindie and I have had epidurals in the thoracic spine for childbirth.  I had to have 3 epidurals in that area along with a spinal tap prior to a C-section.  And, I have had 5 epidurals in my lumbar spine.  How many injections were done to your back before this chronic condition occurred?

I read on wikipedia that your condition causes intractable pain which is the worst type of pain anyone can experience as it doesn't wax and wane but remains a constant and intense pain.  I hope that they have you on the right medications to control this type of pain.  It is terrible that you have lost movement in one of your legs.  It is unimaginable what you must be going through.  I am very sorry that this happened to you.

I consider the injections less of a risk than back surgery itself.  I know that a few have also died from cardiac arrest after epidural injections.  However, I never heard of your condition resulting from the injections.  I did read though that it occurs.  

The injections help control my pain as my doctor still doesn't provide me enough medication to effectively control my pain without them.  Therefore, the injections are an additional therapy to provide adequate pain relief.  I believe Cindie is trying to get her pain under control so that she can endure another pregnancy with minimal pain meds.  So many in America have pain that is undertreated due to fear of the DEA.  But Cancer pain and intractable pain is typically treated well as prescribing for those conditions give doctors "Get out of Jail" free cards as there isn't much justification involved on their part, and hence, less risk of DEA prosecution.  For back pain, there is always surgery and the DEA can probe into why a patient hasn't been referred for surgery when it should be a decision between the patient and the doctor whether or not surgery is the route to take.  There is a bias when it comes to pain and the type of pain one has.  It shouldn't be this way.  Many of us choose from treatments that are provided to us, which seem to be limited in scope.

I do hope that you find peace and comfort this holiday season as I know I will be seeking the same.

femmy
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Hi Femmy.  :)
To answer your first question, a myelogram is a test where they put you on a tilting table and inject dye into the base of your spine.  Then they tilt you forward to allow the dye to travel up toward your head, then they do a CT scan to see where the dye stops and that's the point where the nerves are being blocked off by the disc.

The only injection I had into my spine was the dye from the myelogram.  It was injected into my lumbar spine.  The surgery that I had for the ruptured discs was a complete success, but now because of the myelogram I am a lifelong chronic pain patient.  Fortunately, right now both of my legs are working, but there will come a day when they will not, and the worst part is I have no way of knowing when that day will be.  The time my right leg just stopped working was a normal day, I had walked into the office, picked up a phone that was ringing, had a short conversation with the person, hung up the phone and walked away from the desk, and by the time I had gone 20 feet I was dragging my right foot.  Another 20 feet and my leg was a useless dangling limb.  It wasn't numb, it just didn't work.  I could not have moved it if I had HAD to.  

Arachnoiditis comes in different "strengths".  In some cases it's a dull ache that comes and goes, kind of like the pain you feel when you just overdo too much physical stuff.  It comes and goes and there are days when you feel perfectly fine with no pain at all.  It goes from that all the way up to what I have, where it graduates to the adhesive variety where the nerves in the spinal cord are fusing together into clumps.  It's inoperable, it's incurable.  All they can do is treat you for the pain.  

I think the worst part of the whole thing is that there will never again be a day in my life where I wake up in the morning, stretch, and say "boy, I feel GOOD today!"  For me, a good day is one where I can get up and walk pretty much as soon as I awaken instead of having to take a dose of meds and lay there until they work enough for me to be able to stand up.  It's not just the back pain, it affects the whole body.  It even affects the immune system.  There are times when I feel like I have tiny shards of glass in my feet.  There are other times when the skin on certain parts of my body feels as though I have a very bad sunburn but it's not red and there's no way it could be because it's in a place where clothing covers it.  Probably the worst part of the whole thing is that people look at me and say "you look like the picture of health!  How can you be sick?" and when I try to explain it to them they say "yeah, I have a bad back too.  Have you tried blah blah blah?" like extra strength whatever they bought at WalMart OTC is going to touch with I have.

My parents are both deceased and I have no brothers or sisters.  I thank God every day for my husband.  He is my life.  I have one cousin who is more like a sister to me than a cousin.  She always has been, she always will be.  The rest of my family with regard to cousins and aunts has written me off because in their eyes, I am just a drug addict who is too weak to withstand the occasional discomfort of having a "bad back".  One of them even tried to say that when their house was broken into, it was me that did it because after all, that's what drug addicts do to feed their habits.  I was living 800 miles away!!  But that doesn't matter.  This is what this condition has done to my life.

At least with my meds I can still work, so I have something to look forward to every day.  My job is my sanity.

You're right about doctors who treat intractable pain having an easier time prescribing adequate meds to their patients.  This is the primary reason I tell others who have issues with pain to make sure they go to a pain management doctor and not just a GP who prescribes pills for them.  A GP will grudgingly prescribe some Lortabs, usually enough to take 4 a day for about 2 weeks at a time.  A pain management specialist can make sure you have adequate medication for 30 days at a time without the fear of coming under scrutiny of the DEA for prescribing too many pain pills to someone.  

Thank you for the wishes for the holiday season.  I wish you the same, and a happy New Year as well.  :)

Ghilly
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Hi Ghilly,

Thanks for coming back to provide additional info about your condition.  Just from what I have researched and from what you have told me, I know that your condition is just not "a bad back".  I can't believe that your family is treating you in such a foul manner, let alone accusing you of stealing from them!  That just isn't right and you should know that I, without even knowing you fully, know that your condition is much more serious than "a bad back".  My heart goes out to you.

I lost my mother to lung/liver cancer when I was 15 years old.  She was and still is my best friend.  I know how hard it must be to have lost both parents.  I am very lucky to still have my Dad around but he is getting up in age.  He is a fighter though.  He beat prostrate cancer 3 years ago and is STILL in remission.  I thank God for every day that I have him still in my life.  Yet, even almost 17 years later, I still miss my mom so very much.  I have PTSD from watching every stage of the cancer take her life.  I still have horrible flashbacks.  I have to pull my self out of them as my body doesn't handle them as well as it used to.  I get chest pains and can't breathe and think, if I don't get out of this flashback, I'm going to have a heart attack.  

Like you, my husband and little boy are my LIFE.  They keep me going.  I am also still working too.  

I am so glad your legs are still working TODAY.  And I hope for many years to come they will give you the mobility to go out and see all that life has to offer!  Despite your adversities, you are a very strong woman.  I sense that in you!  And you are having such a postive outlook on your circumstances and I think your body will thank you for that as the mind is very powerful.

My condition does not compare to what you are going through but I have gotten the same snide comments from "healthy people" that tylenol or motrin does the trick for me, or how do you function on those meds?, or you just need to push yourself...mind over matter.  They don't understand that like you I have to take pain medicine and then wait for it work before I can get dressed to do my every day living.  I am grateful to be able to get out of the bed but after that the pain has me dragging all day.  I do have moments (few and far inbetween) where all the pain leaves me for just that moment.  Makes me wonder if I am dead LOL!  But then, the medicine begins to tail off and I feel the pain coming back on me again like an anvil being lowered onto my head.

I get a good amount of pain medicine from my PCP.  60 Morphine ER 30 mg and 150 Percocet a month along with a slew of other adjuvant medications.  I am switching insurances at the end of the year and I am hopeful that I will get better treatment as I plan to go to a pain management clinic that has physiatrists along with anesthesiologists and pain management physicians to provide optimal care in one place.  It is located in a hospital and has a pharmacy on site as I worry about the future of the united states postal service and their ability to deliver my meds on time given all the hours they are planning on cutting back to save money.  Through my current insurance, I don't have an option of going to a pain management facility.  Everything is managed in house.  But that is about to change and I have a hopeful outlook.  

It just ***** that I am probably going to be searching for a surgeon under the new insurance in January to take my gall bladder out, all while trying to get my pain management care setup.  The earliest OR date is Jan 5th which is too late.  It needs to be on the 31st of Dec or earlier.  They are trying to shuffle the schedule around and maybe I will get it done this month either by that or by admittance to the ER from another gall bladder attack.  I thought I was going to die from the last one so I am eating like a bird hoping that will keep another attack from coming.

I hope the holidays bring tons of cheer to you and your family.  I am still trying to get moving to get everything set up for season.  It is a slow one this year.

femmy  :)
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Let me see if I got this right, Are you saying that too many spinal epidurals for the back pain can bring on this condition known as " adhesive arachnoiditis"? Why doesn't the pain managment doctor explain this can happen? My prayers go out to you on this, I'm going to look it up & when I see him next week show him the article & ask why in the he**, didn't he tell me about this?
God Bless & I hope there is something they can do for you.
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