SUCCESS RATES OF AN EPIDURAL STEROID OR FACET JOINT INJECTIONS FOR BACK PAIN?…

With so many different types of spinal injections available for back pain I decided to do a bit of research on epidurals for back pain and what I had for my cervical pain back in March this year.

I was told at the time that the way I had this injection (which was through the front of my neck ) was highly dangerous and that not many pain consultants ( including mine) would perform this procedure. All the way through the procedure the consultant ( another one I had been referred to who specialised in this type of injection )kept saying I must not move one fraction of an inch but instead to shout stop whenever I started to feel it too uncomfortable.

Right from when start when the injection went in I instinctively moved slightly because of the discomfort and the consultant was quite strong in his words to remind me to say stop or he may have to stop the whole procedure.

Slowly but surely after numerous stops I was given a fair dose of the steroid to help with my pain. I then had strict instructions on how I might feel afterwards and if I felt differently to phone directly to speak to him.

I can honestly say it wasn’t the most pleasant or procedures but I’m always of the opinion of no pain no gain with these type as of procedures. Fortunately I had no after affects and after about three weeks ( I was told it could take that long) the pain relief kicked in and my neck and arm pain disappeared for the first time in years.

When I asked the consultant how many of this particular type of injection I could have in a year he said he would not recommend ever having another as it is so dangerous.

The pain relief lasted four amazing months !

Spine Health wrote that while the effects of an epidural steroid injection tend to be temporary (lasting from a week to up to a year) an epidural steroid injection can deliver substantial benefits for many patients experiencing low back pain.

  • Recent research reports that lumbar epidural steroid injections are successful in patients with persistent sciatica from lumbar disc herniation, with more than 80% of the injected group with disc herniation experiencing relief (in contrast to 48% of the group that received a saline placebo injection).
  • Similarly, in a study focused on a group of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and related sciatica symptoms, 75% of patients receiving injections had more than 50% of pain reduction one year following the injections. The majority also increased their walking duration and tolerance for standing.

So, I could see from this information that it seems to be ok for lumber pain but there is no mention of it for cervical pain.

An article in The Daily Mail said that tens of thousands of patients are being given a ‘useless’ back-pain injection, which costs the NHS nearly £40 million every year, an analysis suggests.

Patients that demand a ‘quick fix’ for their discomfort are being given the treatment, priced at £540 per procedure, despite doctors being told to recommend back-pain sufferers be more active or try psychological therapy.

According to an analysis of NHS data by The Times, 70,608 steroid injections into patients’ facet joints, which make spines flexible, occurred last year, compared to 62,570 five years ago.

Guidelines released in both 2009 and 2016 advise against the procedure. 

Figures also show 8,044 operations that fuse spinal bones together were carried out last year, up from 7,224 between 2012 and 2013. 

Spinal Healthcare point out that Epidural steroid injections are actually very safe, since they are simply an injection that contains both local anaesthetic and steroids. In effect these reduce the inflammation that is causing pain in the nerves and the disc in the spin and the local anaesthetic numbs the area, bringing short term numbness to the region. By the time the local anaesthetic wears off the steroid will be working to reduce inflammation.

However there are some risks with the procedure, but these need to be looked at in context. Almost every human activity carries some risk with it. For example, crossing the road, lifting heavy objects, even opening a tin of beans all carry risks. Yet we do them every day, simply because they are necessary to human function.

Reading through lots more posts on epidurals I have come to the conclusion that like anything in life one size does not fit all of us and for some this treatment gives great relief and for others none whatsoever. There is definitely a problem with the cost of this type of injection as you require x ray staff and others to proceed with it. My facet joint injections which were also done in X-ray were cut a couple of years ago due to funding.

I can quite understand the cuts as the NHS is under so much pressure but I think it would make sense to have a team of people who simply follow up your pain relief after the injection to monitor if it was worth doing or not. That way the ones who benefit could continue having them and and the ones that don’t could try something else.

As far as the safety of this type of injection, I guess any injection into your spine carries risks but that could apply to any type of procedure. However, having it for cervical pain is something I could not find so it makes me think that maybe the one I had was a one off that worked for a while but now it’s back to square one again.

 
 
 

THE LATEST LACTIC ACID INJECTIONS FOR BACK PAIN…

According to this week’s Daily Mail Good Health section there is a new type of injection which contains a chemical that our body releases during strenuous exercise which could help treat chronic back pain.

Researchers are injecting lactic acid, which causes the painful burning sensation in our muscles, into discs in the spine.

The theory is that lactic acid plumps up the damaged disc to make it stiffer, which means nerves are less likely to get trapped and cause pain.

This job isn’t always easy

The new injection is designed to stiffen the disc in order to prevent future degeneration. It is known as STA-363, and is given as a single jab into the damaged disc which will then hopefully trigger the production of more connective tissue and collagen, to make the disc stiff but strong.

That, says the developer Stayble Therapeutics will make the disc more stable and won’t compress any nerves as they are no longer able to grow into the repaired disc.

In a new study at the Stockholm Spine Center in Sweden, 15 patients will be given one of three doses of the lactic acid jab, or a placebo.

Watch this space for more information on this as the new studies go ahead.

MY SURGERY FOR ULNAR NERVE ENTRAPMENT…

After suffering since December with numbness and tingling in the small and ring fingers, and pain in the elbow and fingers, I tried all the conservative methods to heal my problem but it just got worse.  Ulnar nerve entrapment is also called cubital tunnel syndrome and ulnar tunnel syndrome. It’s the second most common nerve entrapment after carpal tunnel syndrome. It can cause numbness, tingling and/or pain in the arm and certain fingers. The condition is caused by compression or irritation of the ulnar nerve.

I saw an Orthopaedic consultant last month who felt it was a trapped ulnar nerve in my elbow and sent me for some nerve conduction tests to confirm his findings. I went back for my results yesterday and it was clear that I have a trapped nerve which needs surgery. I was told that if I decided to leave the surgery then I could run the risk of impaired hand function so I have to have the surgery.

My surgeon will make a cut over the back of your elbow on the inner side. He will cut any tight tissue that is compressing the nerve. Sometimes they may need to remove a piece of bone, or move the nerve so that it lies in front of the elbow, but that will be decided on the day of surgery.

The goals and potential benefits of surgery include:

  • Relief of neural compression
  • Pain reduction
  • Prevention of further deterioration

The chance of obtaining a significant benefit from surgery depends upon a wide variety of factors, and in some it can take a while to recover, but with it being my right hand I just need to get the operation done and hope it all improves.

 

STRUGGLING…

963e6fb2e6c071dd15f70b1f40595172

Most back pain and fibromyalgia sufferers can go through a difficult episode once in a while. An episode that no matter what you take, medication wise and no matter what you try therapy wise, you still struggle with the pain.

The episode I am going through at the moment started before Christmas after a three week respite period from having some facet joint injections. I have tried lots of different types of injection therapy from trigger point to epidurals but this was my first try at facet joint injections.

It was explained to me that the pain relief could be for a matter of days, weeks or more but if I got good pain relief then this was good news as it proved that I some of the pain was obviously from arthritis in my facet joints. An MRI in July last year showed that I had a moderate prolapsed disc but it was not pressing on any nerves and some arthritis had shown up in the facet joints.

The pain free period was the best pain free time I have had in years and so when it came back like a ton of bricks it really knocked me for six. Previous injections had always helped a little and for longer but I had never been as pain free in my lumber spine before.

Since it came back with a vengeance it has slowly but surely just got worse and worse and is now causing me a lot of distress and discomfort. I have a telephone appointment with the pain team at the hospital where I get my injections done next Tuesday. I’m not really sure what they will suggest to help me at the moment as you can only have a certain amount of steroid in a year. I guess I can only hope for some good news.

I’m not one to wallow in my discomfort in fact to keep my mind off my pain I got cracking with another book I was writing which I have just sent through to Amazon to be published which meant I could tick off  one of my New Year resolutions. I love writing a New Year resolution list, I find it inspires me on a daily basis. My list is quite long, and so I will probably not get through them all, but I think it’s more achievable if you have quite a long list. Have you made a New Year resolution list ?

NEVER BE ALONE IN PAIN AGAIN WITH REACHOUT: THE APP…

ezgif-com-gif-maker

You will never feel alone in pain again with this unique, FREE first of it’s kind Social Support App ‘Reachout‘. It helps patients and their families cope with chronic conditions of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, substance abuse, chronic pain like fibromyalgia, arthritis etc, death/grieving and mental health challenges (depression, anxiety and panic disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, among others) all over the world.

Users are able to connect with others in the support groups to exchange useful coping strategies, offer and receive support and develop lifelong friendships that help reduce loneliness, depression and anxiety. It’s a support system which offers compassion and hope and never feel alone by joining the family of users connected through suffering with the same condition.

The peer to peer support model used in the App is based on the fact that while receiving social support is helpful, offering support is also very therapeutic.  Even if you just wanted a simple lift in your spirits this App will help you. It’s been voted the Best App of the last 2 weeks on Drippler.

Since the release in March 2016, the app has received rave reviews, both from the medical community as well as journalists. A recent 2 minute video coverage by ABC affiliate of Dallas explains this App aptly.

For more details and a direct link to this excellent app head over to Reachout Life website.