Last week Thursday I had my second pain block – the second of a set of three injections of cortisone steroids into my neck (C5-C6). I’ve already chronicled the history here, so this is an update on how the second one went.
Since the first one was actually effective – maybe only a 25%-50% reduction in pain, but it did reduce the pain niticably – the doctor suggested I have a set of three injections. He hopes that this combined with some physical therapy and continued use of the painkillers as needed will get my neck / shoulders / back close to working condition again. Based on the first one, I’m definitely hopeful; it’s the first thing I’ve tried in almost a year that gave any kind of relief.
This second time, I came out of the anesthesia much better than the first time. After the first I was majorly groggy – I actually couldn’t walk properly; my legs weren’t working – and it took me probably an hour to eat a sandwich when I got home because I kept falling asleep between bites. This time I was coherent enough to get into my friend’s car myself, eat a whole meal, and read a little bit before taking a recovery nap. So that was a definite positive.
The downside is that the injection site hurt much worse after the second round than the first. Now, there’s definitely a chance that it did hurt this much after the first one and I was just too drugged up by my horrible reaction to the anesthesia to notice – I mean seriously, I was out of it. But this second time, it really felt like there was a sharp knitting needle stabbing into my spine, and it was hard to move around or even find a comfortable seat on the couch that first afternoon. I ended up taking painkillers because of the pain of the surgery site – which, hey, okay, painkillers are for using, yes, but it was a pretty excruciating day.
I’m happy to report that three days after the surgery, most of the injection-site pain has gone away — it has the tender-sore feeling of a bruise, but it’s much better than that first day, and even that pain is going away. By the middle of this week I should have a better estimation of how much of the herniated disc pain has been eliminated this round.