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Transforaminal Epidural (Lumbar)

I saw my neurosurgeon yesterday, who said he wouldn't do surgery until I tried transforaminal epidural injections at L5-S1. I have a collapsed disc at that level and a great deal of pain since there's not enough room for the nerves to live.

Has anyone had this kind of injection? Any success stories? Of course, that's what I'm hoping for, but I'm open to hearing anything. I've had facet injections that lasted three months, and a general epidural that wore off in four days. I'm used to the needles, I just hope it's worth it.
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  • Everyone is different, but I had 2 of those injections prior to having a fusion and neither worked. If they hit the right spot, you'll feel a weird sensation going down your leg as they bathe the nerve in the medicine. I was numb for a few hours after each, but my pain was back to normal by the next day.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • That's terrible. They didn't even work at all for you. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate your telling your story. I know everyone's different, just looking for others going through this. I had that general epidural that wore off after four days back in 2010, but supposedly the surgeon says this is a different type of injection. He says my stenosis is different than center stenosis and that makes me feel like an odd ball. Surely there are others going through transforaminal stenosis.

    I suppose if I am going to be numb after, I shouldn't attempt to return to work after I have one, just take a sick day, or plan it for later in the afternoon. When I had my facets and epidural done, I was in Canada and I had to travel two hours to get to pain management. I took sick days from work all four times simply because it was two hours there, two hours back, and the injection appointments themselves were generally around 1 p.m. This pain clinic is within a five minute drive of my work. I'd forgotten about the spaghetti legs I had after each injections, thanks for the reminder!
    ____________________________________________
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
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  • You won't be allowed to drive after this type of injection. I had 2 regular epidurals as well and this is different. With a transforaminal injection, the needle is placed directly on top of the nerve root of the affected disc and it is basically bathed in the medicine to reduce inflammation and pain. Most doctors do 2 of them 2 weeks apart.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • That's no worries, I will either have my husband drive me or I will take a taxi. Thanks for the heads up.

    Does it hurt? I would think if they're right by the nerve root, it might get mad that something is intruding. Hope that's not a stupid question! My facet injections hurt some and the epidural pretty much just had pressure not pain.

    Thanks for replying! :)
    ____________________________________________
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • No more pain than a regular epidural really. The main difference is you'll feel a warm sensation/pressure down your butt and leg as the medicine is injected. Because of that you could have some numbness in your leg for a few hours after the injection, so you have to be careful walking.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
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  • The dr told me it may hurt but it was more like a bad Charlie horse for about 45 seconds while the medics was being injected and then it stopped. Compared to the pain you've been dealing with, it'll be nothing.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • I just had a cervical epidural and it was no big deal. I was knocked out and when I came around, I felt fine. The next couple of days were rough, basically the nerve root that they hit is worse. Hope the steriods do some good. But I wanted to try this before major spine surgery
    Cervical laminectomy, facetectomy, and foraminotomy (3-6 of each) with instrumentation and cadaver fusion due to cervical spondylotic myelopathy, radiculopathy ,and spinal cord contusion - surgery done in April 2014.
  • ShmooeySShmooey Posts: 89
    edited 01/28/2014 - 1:22 PM
    Just wanted to post a follow up in case anyone else reads this wanting to know how their injection is going to be.

    The injection was pretty easy. The transforaminal space is apparently easier to access than doing facet joint injections, because I had a lot less pressure during needle insertion. Did get the weird feeling in my butt and left leg. I still feel kinda weird about that!

    He said I may have increased pain in the next couple of days, and I should feel the full effect of the injection in about a week.

    I have a really cool PM doc. Fortunate to have a good treatment team.


    edited to add: wow, that designated bag of frozen peas sure comes in handy tonight. it's pretty angry that I had a needle stuck in there! Pain level remains at 5 but swelling is outdoing my 600 mg of Advil and I can't lay down comfortably. Ick.
    ____________________________________________
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • ShmooeySShmooey Posts: 89
    edited 01/29/2014 - 11:57 AM
    I called out from work today due to discomfort from the injection. I was still swollen and sore. I did my morning PT and got dressed, but I knew I wouldn't make it through nine hours there.

    It's currently 12:40 and the swelling has gone down significantly. So if you have this type of injection, maybe be prepared for the next day off from your duties so you can allow things to heal properly. Seems it needs a bit of time to settle in.


    edited later to add: last comment on this thread unless someone bumps it and has a question...

    I did my evening PT and things are a lot more comfortable. Still a small amount of swelling and still some discomfort at the injection site, but nothing I can't handle now. Now to see if it actually works for me...
    ____________________________________________
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • I'm so happy you are starting to feel relief! Wouldn't that be great if you have found your answer for less pain and no surgery :)
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
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