Arachnoiditis after epidurals and facet joint injections
by Nancy W
(Seal Beach, Ca)
Had 2 epidurals 4 years ago for low back pain. Had MRI which showed spondylolisthesis, (stage 1) mild scoliosis, spurs, arthritis. Saw Neurosurgeon, said NO surgery. Sent to a different pain Dr. He gave 2 epidurals over an 8 month period. No relief. Had Facet Joint Injection (Dr. said not the problem). Had SI joint injection (Dr. ruled that out). Had 2nd MRI one year after the second Dr. did the first of 2. Pain was getting worse. This time MRI showed Arachnoiditis; did not have it in 2017. Got it as result of 2018 epidural.
Tried Neurontin, made me dizzy. Tried Cymbalta, but didn't titrate properly off Zoloft, interaction nearly sent me to ER. Dr. wants me to try Lyrica. Scared to try it. Taking Aleve, and Norco (Norco not every day). I am 74.
QUESTION: COULD CHIROPRACTOR HELP LESSEN THE PAIN WITH GENTLE MANIPULATION? ACUPUNCTURE? MASSAGE? PHYSICAL THERAPY? I realize there is no cure, but I can't live like this. Afraid of drugs, wondering if the above treatment(s) might offer some relief?
It's hard to comment from afar, not being abreast of all the details and not able to examine you. Plus, you need to be wary of any information received like this from the internet.
Firstly, you make no mention of leg pain; that means you had grade I lower back pain; personally it would seem to me that all that was totally unnecessary.
But you have obviously been totally taken in by the medical model, and only now considering the alternatives. It's late in the day and arachnoiditis is horrible.
You make mention of various drugs and injections, but again there is no mention that you are doing lower back exercises, taking a walk or swim every day.
Thirdly there's no mention of your diet and your physical condition. If you are insulin resistant then every cell of your body will be inflamed.
My thoughts are that the medical model hasn't worked for you, so it's time to consider the alternatives. Just as medicine has made your condition worse, it's not impossible that chiropractic could too - it's called iatrogenic, or doctor caused disease, so I would start with the most conservative treatments that you know will not make you worse.
First up, start doing some gentle lower back exercises every morning before you get out of bed, and several times a day. It's probably best you get some professional help on what to do, but you can find my favourites at Chiropractic Help. They take less than two minutes.
Then start walking and/or swimming every single day; you decide for how long. Sit less and choose your chairs carefully. Avoid the vacuum cleaner and the broom; bending and twisting.
Then find out about the anti-inflammatory diet; it's good to do anyway, even if it doesn't help. It will mean retraining your tongue to dislike all refined starches and to love salads and some fruit, especially if you are prediabetic. Have a HbA1c test done; it should be below 5.5.
Ask your husband to start massaging your back every evening, lying on your side. Perhaps see a sports masseuse.
Then after six weeks, if there is no change, then it's time to start looking for a thorough and conscientious chiropractor in your neck of the woods; talk to friends and family and even your medical doctor for a name. Don't expect miracles and don't be put off if the pain increases initially.
Print this out and give it to five of your friends to read; if they give you the thumbs up, then go for it. I hope this contributes; let me know in six weeks how you are doing.
It's called "I'm tired of pain," "I'm tired of pills" and "I want to get better." So much so that I'm willing to ring in the changes; it's probably not going to be easy, but the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate. Kiss bagels and chocolate cake, cheesecake and colas goodbye, for ever. Say hello to gentle daily exercise; it shouldn't hurt.