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Spinal Epidural--what is it?

Question:
I'm scheduled for a Lumbar Spinal Epidural to try to reduce my chronic L5-S1 spinal joint pain. Has anyone had this? They will inject some cortizone or some type of steroid. What is it like? I've had enough pain, I hope it is not hard, if it is, please be honest, as I can face it. Did it help? Can I drive an hour later?


Answer:
One big problem following any invasion of the spinal column is the possibility of "leaking" of spinal fluid. You put something into a very tightly packed space, and the excess has to go somewhere. The result is the worst headache you will ever experience. I've gone for two epidurals, and have had the leakage both times. The result was me losing two extra days of work to stay in bed with the headache. I couldn't even get up to pee. The throbbing pain was intense and I was totally unable to move for the two days. The treatment is usually done in the OR recovery room well before the day has started. My appointments were at 3:30 and 4:30 AM. I could not drive home. That isn't to say you won't be able to, just that I was unable. My doctor wants me to try one more time to see if maybe the leakage the other two times was just a freak occurence! I'm not too crazy about trying anything that caused me so much pain again.



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