Epidural Effectivness

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:42 am

Epidural Effectivness

Post by EngineerDoug » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:23 pm

Hello all,

I've been lurking here for about 10 months since my back flared up on me at the beginning of the year. Here is my short story - I have a protruding disc at L5, with some smaller protrusions at L3, L4. I am 51 years old and am in otherwise good health. The good news for me is that I am virtually free of leg symptoms or neurological deficits. My pain is generally confined to the low back and varies from 0 to 3 on the "10" scale. I am in the care of an excellent physiatrist here in the SF Bay Area and have been diligently doing core work at his behest.

The not-so-good news is that I have been stuck at this level for perhaps 6 months or so. It's a nagging thing, really, as I have been reasonably athletic and fit all my life. My doctor has prescribed Celebrex to take on an "as needed" basis. He does not think, however, that taking Celebrex for a stretch of time (maybe a month or more) will do anything for me.

It seems I have some nerve irritation that does not want to go away. I finally gave in to my doctor's suggestion that I get an epidural at the nerve roots. It was not painful, but as of 8 days into it, I have not seen any improvement. My doctor believed that it would be just the thing for me and would break the cycle of irritation/inflammation. I am due to see him again in a couple of weeks and we'll see what he says about it.

I guess my basic question is, am I just expecting this healing process to go faster than it really takes? I still have access to my physical therapist, though I am no longer being treated by him. He seems to think I just need more time. Maybe he right, but it is frustrating because I am hovering between feeling recovered and feeling not-quite healed.

Does anybody else have a similar experience? Honestly I am puzzled because (fortunately) my injury was not nearly as severe as many of yours. I have heard stories of folks with much more nerve inflammation who responded quickly to epidurals, so I am really wondering about my lack of response.


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