My last post dealt with the yucky after-effects experience with the epidural were over (1 day max), I eagerly began waiting to see if I would feel relief.
When they put the steroid medication into your epidural space, they use numbing medication. This numbing medication does provide temporary pain relief, but the real relief that I am seeking can come several days to a week after the injection.
For the first few days, I really did not feel that much of a difference in my pain. After about 4 days, I started to notice that my arm did not hurt quite as much. Then after about a week, I noticed a small improvement in my shoulder and neck pain. This improvement however, was not the big payoff that I had hoped for or expected from the epidural.
As a matter of fact, I really did not see a huge difference in my pain level from before. So, being a good patient, I waited for a whole month to see if things would change. To my chagrin, they did not. So, I went to talk to Dr. Mark McFarland, one of the spine specialists here at OSC, to tell him the epidural had not given me the relief that I sought.
Dr. McFarland listened patiently to me as I opined that I would be headed for the surgery table because that silly epidural did not work and there was no hope for me, except to be cut open and have the offending disc herniation removed. Dr. McFarland surprised me when he suggested that I should head back for yet another epidural.
I guess he saw the surprise on my face and explained to me his rationale.
He told me that many times, the first epidural does not reduce the inflammation around the nerve as well as it might. So, they do another epidural in a different area or even a level above or below the herniation. Many times, this second one does the trick and relieves the patient’s pain significantly.
I guess I lived through the first one, I guess I can try again and see if it will work this time for me. I am willing to do anything to feel better, so here goes.
Next time – My second cortisone injection epidural!