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(stock photo of a thoracic x-ray)
I have been suffering for several weeks with severe back pain. It seemed that one of my vertebrae had shifted, and was trying to push it's way out of my back from just below my shoulder blades.  I couldn't eat well, I kept being woken from sleep with pain so severe it was hard to breathe.

Dr Allen took some x-rays and said she couldn't see what the problem was, so she sent me to see Dr Faizel Zaman, a back pain specialist.

I had an MRI series of my entire spine, which showed degenerative bone disease in my spine, especially bad in the thoracic region (T4-6). This area has poor prognosis when it comes to spinal surgery - the outcomes are most often worse than the disease itself - so it was determined that I would recieve a series of steroid shots in the epidural space of the spine.

On June 14, 2012, I went in for this procedure. I lay on my stomach on the table, and Dr Zaman and his nurse prepped me by cleaning my back with betadine and alcohol.  Then, using fluroscopy (an x-ray procedure in real-time on a screen), they inserted two needles along side both sides of my spine just below the affected area and into the epidural space.  This hurt. A lot.

Then, they injected the medicine.  This hurt more.

After the procedure, I was taken back to a waiting room with LeAnn to sit for a few minutes to make sure I didn't have any adverse reactions to the medication.

After about 10 minutes, the nurse, Kathy, came in to check on me. I told her I felt fine. I wasn't dizzy or nauseous. Kathy said I was free to go, so I stood up - and nearly went straight to the floor!  My legs felt heavy as lead, and as wobbly as jello!  Kathy just smiled and said "oh, that sometimes happens".  Thanks a lot! I sure appreciate the heads-up.

The next morning, the pain in my back was diminished to the point of where I could barely notice it. On a scale of 0-10, I'd say it was down to a 2 from the 7-9 I had been feeling for weeks.  Nice!

Unfortunately, the effects of the injections wore off after only about 22 hours, leaving me with the severe pain again as well as feeling as though I'd been punched in the kidneys where the injections were administered.

I called Dr Zaman's office, and Kathy told me that the first set of injections just "prime" the body, and the second set - administered after 2 weeks - does a much more lasting job.

I sure hope so!

 


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