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Old 02-16-2010, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Yes
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Anyone ever had one of these? Do you consider it safe? How did it go for you personally?

Been suffering from lower back and sciatic pain (29 years old) for the last month and a half (apparently from two lumbar "minimal disc bulges" says the MRI), and am weighing my options. Pain Management specialist wants to give me an epidural, but it feels like the pain has been getting a little better the last two weeks (even though I still am somewhat in pain). Deciding whether to let this condition attempt to heal itself on its own or go with the epidural (which scares me) for pain help while the condition attempts to heal itself.

On a side note, does anyone who has gone through this know any good physical therapy exercises for this? Currently am doing one decompression stretch, two extension stretches, walking, and swimming (got these suggestions from internet research). Have not seen a physical therapist.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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I had 4 or 5, of lessening effectiveness. The first one lasted almost 8 months, the last one lasted one week. It was great while it lasted! I now take gabapentin to "calm down" the nerves and my pain is gone - been on it for at least 5 yrs now, 300 mg at bedtime. The shot doesn't hurt as they give you a topical first. There was a grating feeling when they found the right place and then instant relief.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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My spouse underwent a spinal epidural, lasted 3 whole days ! You really need to spend some time with a good physical therapist as once they guide you through a fitness/stretching program, you can continue on your own.

Remain active and don't get old... That pain today will be arthritis tomorrow.....good luck
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Missouri
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I have known several senior citizens with the same or similar condition. For some the epidural did nothing, for others it was a life saver. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to know how much it will help, or for how long the relief will last.
Best of luck.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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oscott, I suffered with exactly what you have described back in 2000, from a ruptured disk at the L4-5, S1 point. To this day, it was one of the most painful things I have experienced.

To answer your question, the epidural is safe (well, as safe as any medical procedure). It's done with the aid of an xray of sorts that lets the epidural be administered where they think it will do you the most good. For that reason, you need to be very specific about symptoms, and what brings them on v. what helps lessen them. For me, if I bent over the side of my bed (easily waist-high -- it's a ridiculous four-poster), I could get just a little relief from the pain and the sciatica. It seemed to relieve the pressure on that disk. You also need to make note of what sends the pain over-the-top -- for me, sitting.

The first epidural didn't do much for me, but with the 2nd, I noticed improvement, and by the time I got the 3rd, it was even better, and bought me the time until I had the surgery to repair the disk. I chose the surgery after the sciatica was so bad that it would bring me to tears, and I was having a lot of trouble finding relief. What scared me the most was the orthopaedic explaining that the sciatica could become 'permanent,' in that many people wait too long to address the problem, and then, even though the disk is repaired (surgically, or of its own accord), the sciatica remains. Mine affected both legs, and I was miserable.

For me, the surgery was ultimately the answer, but do your research, and get a good ortho who does this surgery -- almost in his sleep. I steered clear of the surgeons who had repaired disks, and the patients felt no better. Mine had me follow-up with physical therapy. In 6 months I felt great, and just like he had told me it would go, at the one-year-mark, I'd have never known I had a problem or had to do anything to address it.

My greatest concern was re-injuring my back, and the surgeon told me he seldom saw it -- that we learned our lesson!
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Yes
2,660 posts, read 6,149,510 times
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RDSLOTS ...

Geez, I cannot imagine "permanent sciatica" lol. Think life would just be over then. Glad your situation worked out. Here is how mine is going. Around New Years, I started getting an odd back ache after a 12-hour road trip back home. Around mid-January, the sciatica started. About a week or two later, the pain started to become much worse, and the shooting shock-like pains were unbearable (actually ended up crying twice, as unmanly as that is ). That horrible pain lasted for about a week. However, the last two weeks the pain has steadily been decreasing. And as of now, I just have a slight lower-back ache and slight discomfort/pain in the leg (although it is still very annoying). So that is why I am in limbo. 2 weeks ago, I would have begged for an epidural even though it carries some risk. Now, I am not so sure I want one.

I have scheduled on my own an appointment with an Othopedic Doc/Surgeon, so that I can get a better explanation of what is going on with me. I know I obviously don't need surgery at this point (MRI showed minimal disc bulge and I'm no longer in horrendous pain), but I want advice on how I can help myself heal and what activities I shoud be doing or not doing to stay healed in the future. My Pain Doc that I was first referred to is somewhat hard to talk to, and seems to only want to manage the pain with pills or shots (which I know is his job and I understand that) - but I am more interested in being well-informed of what these problems mean for me and how I can try to recover. So I'll ask the Ortho all of my questions, and get his advice too on whether I should go ahead with the epidural or not.

Hopefully I'll rech the point too where this whole ordeal will be an afterthought. That would be great. I used to feel so young and never worried about my spine lol.
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