epidural for herniated lumbar disc?

  1. I herniated my lumbar disc in Jan. Have been undergoing "conservative" medical management. PO steroids, Physical Therapy, rest, muscle relaxants. Had been working most of the time, but not able to do most of the things I enjoy the most.

    Still waking up not able to walk some days. I'm now out of work indefinately. To see Neurosurgical consult on Tuesday.

    My MD thinks they will want to do epidural injections before going the surgical route. I'm not too keen on the epidural idea. At this point I just want to get my life back. I'm leaning towards asking if I can just have the surgery. Most of my friends say that the epidurals only postponed the surgery.

    Does any one want to share their experiences with epidurals vs, surgery?

    Thanks.
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   cpgrn
    In some cases epidurals will help. Conservative treatment is usually the best option, especially if you have no neurological deficits. They put steroids directly into the epidural space and sometimes that will shrink the swelling and relieve the pain. Don't think that surgery is the miracle cure. The vertebrae above and below the herniation sometimes become unstable from the surgery and that leads to additional surgery and sometimes fusion. I would try to avoid surgery unless that is the only option. I worked for a neurosurgeon for 3+ years before I went into school nursing. A few years ago my husband ruptured a cervical disc. He did everything possible to avoid surgery - heat, cervical collar, NSAIDS, physical therapy and rest. It resolved without surgery. I was glad I had experience with this because he would have been a surgical candidate with the rupture that he had. He has done very well ever since. PM me if you need additional info. I will be glad to help you if I can. What level is your herniation? Is there any numbness or tingling?
    Last edit by cpgrn on May 25, '03
  4. by   CCL"Babe"
    Yep constant pain and now with the last episode tingling Right leg and foot. MRI shows nerve impingement.
  5. by   cpgrn
    L5S1? Any foot drop? Does your pain shoot down the back of your right leg? Does anything relieve it? Have you tried moist heat? (I'm sure you have.)
  6. by   OC_An Khe
    Epidural steroid injections can work very well particularly on the condition you describe. I wouldn't hesitate to have one. If it fails, and a per centage don't respond, then you can opt for the knife. which has it own failure rate also. Always go for the less invasive route when possible.
  7. by   sjoe
    "I would try to avoid surgery unless that is the only option. "

    I agree, and that has been my choice to date.

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