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2 failed epidural injections. What's next? Post your experiences

sbvegas990sbvegas990 Posts: 5
edited 04/27/2017 - 11:37 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone. Just a quick intro. My name is Shelia and I'm 27, live in Las Vegas. Always had back issues but nothing that has lasted for months (I've been living in constant pain since late Sept/Eearly Oct) It appears my L5 is degenerating and there is a definite tear in my disc. Disc protrusion with radiculopathy. The pain is getting WORSE and is so bad to the point I can barely sit for longer than an hour, driving is awful, walking is starting to cause me issues. My hips hurt terribly, fronts of my thighs, my buttocks and backs up my legs and also starting to get numbness back in both legs. I've been going to Pain Management and he did two epidural shots that have both failed. I was going to Physical therapy but put a stop to that because I noticed I felt worse after, not better. They're not doing anymore epidurals. I meet with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday and I am really nervous. I hope he can help me resolve this issue because I am so tired of living in pain. It's impacting me at work but thankfully I have FMLA, my relationships with people are also rocky but my mind state has changed because if people truly cared about me they'd be there during this rough time in my life.

My spine feels like someone is stepping on it and extremely irritated.

From your past experience, please share what the next step was after failed epidurals? I'm pretty sure I'm in for a long journey but hoping I can get some relief quickly.

Also if you could please recommend ways to help the pain somewhat? What worked for you? I'm on painkillers, muscle relaxers and also been taking supplements. I absolutely hate taking pain killers because they give me terrible headaches but I've been taking them more frequently.


  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,437
    Hello sbvegas990

    Welcome to Spine-Health! I am so sorry you are having to go through this, especially at such a young age.
    As far as what the next step will be, that answer depends on your doctor and/or your insurance company.
    A lot of insurance companies only want you to do everything in the book before having surgery. Doctors are the same way. A lot of them will not even give pain meds unless you go to PT, have all the injections, etc.

    While we are waiting on other members to reply, please click on the Welcome link and well as the System tutorial. There you will find more useful information as well as how to navigate the Spine-Health system.

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  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    Did they target the annular tear with ESI?
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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  • Hi Shelia

    Sorry for your pain. I have had many esi's and facet ijnjections and occipital blocks. Some have worked well and others not at all. I would try heat, ice, tens unit, traction, compound creames and pain meds, muscle relaxers first before having surgery. There are many different pain meds, maybe you can find one that wont give you headaches.

    As far as people not being supportive, that's a hard call. I would expect close family/boyfriend/husband to be there for you. Please remember the longer this goes on people sometimes gloss over your pain because they get tired of hearing about it or they think it cant be that bad. I have been married 33 years and I try not to complain to my wife to much as I know it just sounds like a broken record.

    I will say this, my wife can tell when I am really hurting because you have that look in your eyes and a facial expression that says it all. At those times she is compassionate and understanding. I try not to be a constant burden to her. I have found the blend of meds works best along with heat and ice. Look up the blend on SH and try it. Please know surgery may not help the pain. I had two level acdf and I am worse off now. I also have L4-L5 moderate disc bulge with root nerve compression. I will not be have surgery on that unless I cant walk at all. Good luck


  • jimandjrjimandjr Dallas TXPosts: 465
    If ESIs do not work, surgery has been the next step for me 3 times.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    I am not a doctor but before any talk about surgery I would try to target that annular tear with ESI and I would for sure have discograpthy before surgical option to verify pain generator. ESI targeting annular tear kept me out of thoracic surgery and discogram kept me out of wrong level surgury. I signifigantly improved with annular tear pain after procedure and its going on 7 years.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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  • @itsautonomic I met with the orthopedic surgeon yesterday and they are now going to do a RFA and also some more injections. I am praying to God these help because I am so tired of feeling this way. It's taken over my whole life. I absolutely do not want surgery and with my tear he said it isn't severe or anything even though just because it appears that way on an MRI doesn't mean I'm in excruciating pain. I was a bit turned off too that he said they don't like doing surgery on people my age (27). I would think I'd have a better recovery? But I am doing EVERYTHING I can do get better.
  • @dmo Absolutely! I think close family will absolutely understand and I am lucky to have my family especially my mom to support me. It hurts her seeing me in this much pain. And my dog even knows something is up too. But unfortunately you have those who kind of shrug it off like you're just crazy, those types of people can stay out of my life. Thank you for your response! It helps me out a lot :)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,632
    Heres something to read Chronic pain step by step

    I am also a firm believer that younger patients have better outcomes after spinal surgery. You are young, generally in better shape than older folks and your recovery can be quicker. I have had spinal surgeries since I was 28. I have notice that each time I have another surgery and as the years go by, my recovery is longer and harder.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    All I can say is my annular tear didn't even show up on MRI and it was a full thickness tear that leaked dye without holding much pressure during discogram. So according to MRI I didn't even have a tear, if you get my drift.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • 2 weeks ago I had another failed facet block at a higher level and my insurance nixed them going in again, so I wait for my next visit to see what's next. All total, I have had over 20 ESI procedures, facet blocks, nerve blocks, you name it. I had a great RFA on my neck that is holding up. My thoracic pain level is about a 7, I just took something for pain.
    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
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