Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bilateral Epidural --- L4/L5

I suffer from chronic back pain. It is part of my daily existence. Most of the time I cope fairly well with it (as long as I don't try to overdo it), and have occasional flareups that are handled with the occasional muscle relaxer, or if needed a Vicodin. For this pain, I am under the care of a pain management physician, and have signed all sorts of contracts about not doctor shopping, and sticking with one pharmacy. I am cool with that. In fact I am grateful for that. To be quite honest, the Vicodin makes me itchy all over and I really don't enjoy it.

Every once in awhile, I have a flare up so bad that I can barely walk, and the spasms twist me up so badly that I cannot even stand up straight. I had one of those flare ups starting in winter of 2009-2010. Went for the requisite MRI, tried several different medication regimens, etc. which led up to having bilateral Facet Joint Cortisone injections into the L4/L5 and L5/S1 joints. Relief from the Facet Joint injections? Not so much.

In the past, probably about 11 years ago, I'd had the epidural injections into the L5/S1 space and they were very successful. I had three done in the space of 6 weeks, and they were so successful I did not need to have them for almost 10 years. Since the facet joint thing did not work, my doctor decided to try the epidural injection. I had the epidural last May and got almost instant relief. It did not hurt, I felt no pressure when it was going in, but did get much comfort from it.

Fast forward to today. Starting about 6 weeks ago, I felt like my back pain was starting its downhill path to being back to where I was a little over a year ago. I had an appointment already scheduled with the Pain Czar so I decided I could wait. Saw him last week and told him I felt like things were starting to get more painful. So we scheduled another epidural. This morning I went in, and ooooooh doggies did it ever hurt this time. The only thing different that I can think of is the fact that I started on Neurontin last week after my appointment. At one point I practically came off the table from the pressure going down my leg. Not nearly as bad as the time I had a bone marrow biopsy, but whoa.

I have been taking it really easy all afternoon (and now evening). Hoping that I feel better tomorrow. Also hoping that because this one was so painful that I will get even better relief from it. Here's hoping...

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