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Thread: ESI for herniated disc/sciatica

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Exclamation ESI for herniated disc/sciatica

    Has anyone had an ESI?

    MY HISTORY: I had a herrington rod put in at age 12 in 1983 for scoliosis. I grew 2 inches in hours. My doctors were Dr. Erwin and Dr. Dickson in Houston, Texas; they were considered the best surgeons in the scoliosis field at that time. The rod is still in my back.

    I had NO back troubles until I hit my 30's. The pain started in August 2005; I'd had major [sharp lower left-side back/buttock] pain that only last a couple of days. Nearly exactly a year later, August 2006, I had severe pain again. There was also pain experienced often or intermittently in my neck. I went to a kinesiology chiropractor for an intense therapy of 3x week, then 2x week, then eventually to no visits. The neck pain has since gone away, for the most part, and I now cannot sleep without my nice foam pillow I bought from the chiropractor. But, as soon as I slowed the chrio visits, my condition worsened (only the back pain).

    Before my chiro visits, [in Aug. 2005] I sought the advice of a specialist, Dr. Buddy Tipton, Jr., in Austin, Texas. We did c-scans (since an MRI would rip the bar out) and xrays. I have two herniated [left side] discs at L5, S1. Since August 2006, my sciatica nerve pain is very bad on my left side from my buttock/hip, to my knee, down to my ankle (the worst, pain-wise) and to the tips of my toes--I experience intense burning, tingling and numbness 24/7. Any position that I sleep/lie, sit or stand is unbearable.

    I visited my specialist again recently when I could no longer live with the pain; he prescribed me about 7 days of cortisone (with a detail plan on how/when to take them) to get the inflammation down (helped somewhat) and pain killers (vicodin helping a lot). I will see him for a follow-up visit this Friday, 2/2/07. I also begin the [Robin] McKenzie method therapy sessions (probably 7-8 visits) before my visit with him. I believe my next step (after visiting the doc Friday) to relieving my pain is the ESI/Epidural Steroid Injection.

    Has anyone gone through this? If so, what was your result afterward? Six months of no pain?

    Does anyone else have the exact situation as I? .
    Last edited by LisaLou; 06-23-2008 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Hi Lisa, yes there have been quite a few of us that have had an ESI. I have a very similar problem as yourself and my experience was the ESI did not work but there have definately been quite a lot people here on the forum that have been helped by them, I was just unfortunate.
    I have two Harrington rods in my back and have had quite a few MRIs. They have not had any effect at all on my rods. The only thing that has happened is that the results of the MRIs are very hard to see what is going on as the rods blur the scan up quite a bit. I cannot see you having a problem with them.
    I feel very sorry for you being so young and have this happen to you,

    Regards,
    Macky
    Operation 1966, Fused from T4 to L3, had Harrington rods inserted. Originally had an 85 degree Thoracic curve with lumbar scoliosis as well but had a good correction.
    Perfectly normal life till 1997 but now in a lot of pain daily. Consider myself very fortunate though.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2007
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    Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    What else?

    Quote Originally Posted by macky
    Hi Lisa, yes there have been quite a few of us that have had an ESI. I have a very similar problem as yourself and my experience was the ESI did not work but there have definately been quite a lot people here on the forum that have been helped by them, I was just unfortunate.
    I have two Harrington rods in my back and have had quite a few MRIs. They have not had any effect at all on my rods. The only thing that has happened is that the results of the MRIs are very hard to see what is going on as the rods blur the scan up quite a bit. I cannot see you having a problem with them.
    I feel very sorry for you being so young and have this happen to you,

    Regards,
    Macky
    Dear Macky, how old are you? I do feel too young to be having these difficulties; however, I am fortunate to have had all these years without any problems until now. What else have you gone through to help your pain/situation?
    LisaLou

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Tasmania
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    Lisa I was 46 when I first of all had problems, and now I am 55 years of age. That is what I am getting at when I say how I feel for you being so young to start this. I have had physio, hydrotherapy, massage., facet joint injections, anaesthesia injected into discs and ESI.

    Lisa though please remember dear, that what may not have worked on me, MAY work on you, so please try and keep really positive. I see that cortisone helped I also had that injected in my back by means of epidural.

    I would like to see if you could have an MRI which you can, as absolutely nothing happens and the harrington rods arent ripped out of your back, that was thought to happen by some doctors but is not true. Maybe by doing that it may give you an idea of what is going on. Also I have seen some very good advice on this forum and that is that people who have had the harrington rods inserted go to an adult scoliosis specialist who has had a lot of experience in revision surgery. That would be the best advice I can give.
    If you are not going to a specialist as I suggested Linda Racine knows of a lot of excellent doctors and may be able to recommend one in your area.


    I am really thinking of you
    Macky
    Operation 1966, Fused from T4 to L3, had Harrington rods inserted. Originally had an 85 degree Thoracic curve with lumbar scoliosis as well but had a good correction.
    Perfectly normal life till 1997 but now in a lot of pain daily. Consider myself very fortunate though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    LisaLou- I had my harrington rod put in in 1982...now at 36 I'm experiencing pain...herniated disc in neck. I had never heard of ESI...my scoliosis has actually significantly worsened and docs are suggesting 2 more rods be inserted (docs are amazed that I'm not experiencing pain and numbness down my leg...surprised I can still walk a mile a day)...like you I felt very fortunate for the number of "good" years I got out of my rods...but I'm so nervous...not sure I can do this surgery every 20 years or so and it doesn't sound like there really have been many changes over the years...I hope you have luck with the ESI...wishing you the very best.

    Always Smilin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Euharlee, Georgia
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    My rod is steel and I have had an MRI. It just causes distortion in the area of the rod. I am senstitive to vibrations so it bothered me to have the MRI. I have had steriods injected above my fusion which offered relief for a short time. I had one at the base of my spine which helped for 3 days. I have too much scar tissue, bone spurs, and arthritus in the area. I am having a Facet Joint Nerve Ablation in a couple of weeks on the area above my fusion. Hopefully it will end a good amount of my upper pain. I have friends who gotten relief from steriod shots in their lower spine, but it just didn't work for me.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  7. #7
    barb816 Guest

    barb816

    What is a facet joint ablation? Is it anything like burning the nerves? I have had quite a few steriod shots in the back and neck and they have only lasted 2 to 3 weeks and you can only have so many a year. They just went in and burned some nerves, but I don't think that is going to help. I have thought about spinal cord stimulation therapy, has anyone had that?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Euharlee, Georgia
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    Abulation is burning the nerves. They last from 6 months to 3 years. My doctor said it could take about 3 times before the nerves give up and stop healing themselves!
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    100
    Hi LisaLou,

    Wow, our situations are really similar. I also have a Harrington rod and also now have a herniated disc at L5/S1. I had a similar problem with this area 9 years ago and the McKenzie method (I think you mentioned you were going to try it) worked wonders for me and I think it gave me another 9 good years. However, right now it isn't working as well. Did it work for you at all? I am finding that the less extreme core strengthening exercises are working a bit for me right now, but the whole recovery process is taking alot longer than it did 9 years ago.

    Do you know how far down you are fused? I'm fused from T5 to L2 and am wondering if that may be why the McKenzie method isn't quite as effective (I only have a few flexible areas left).

    I'm also wondering if they gave you an explanation for the neck pain - I've started getting more and more of it lately. Was it a mis-alignment problem (I'm a little scared of chiropractors, particularly with all the hardware in my back, but willing to try one if it will help)?

    Hm, I'm doing a lot of asking and not much helping I'd give the core strengthening a try first if I were you (nothing too strenuous though). Steroids can be pretty hard on the body, but if you've tried everything else you may need them.

    Good luck - keep us posted on how you're doing!

    - Sarah
    - 37 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    100
    Just wanted to thank you for the memory foam pillow advice, LisaLou. I bought and have been using a cervical memory foam pillow for the past three nights and already feel an improvement. I think that will save me a visit to the chiropractor. Thanks for your help!

    - Sarah
    - 37 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011

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