First time posting: I am eighteen years out with my heart transplant and have now developed Osteoarthritis in the first four vertebrae in my neck. This is a very painful condition and I am faced with the decision to have an injection in my neck to help the pain.  The problem for me is that normally you have to have three injections before they will work. But! There is no guarantee that this treatment will work and it is a very painful. My primary doc and I have also talked about a pain management plan which I am leaning towards doing. I have tried PT but my therapist says he can't help me because of the severity of the arthritis and the fact that I have developed Osteoporosis as well.

I do not want to go into detail at this time, but I have "many" other issues most caused by the suppressant drugs. I am becoming very tired of constant doctoring.  I would like some views concerning this choice that I must make in the coming weeks.

Thanks in Advance.


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  • Yvonne,

    You might inquire how these shots are done. In my case, the doctor told me that they use an xray or something like it so that the shot can be placed exactly where it needs to be placed. There was no pain involved as they gave me a shot beforehand. You might ask what the procedure would be like in your case.

    • Thanks Cisco for the "heads up".  I didn't think about getting all the ins and outs of this procedure. I was sort of in shock when I found out that I had the osteoarthritis in my neck and found out that I crossed over the line into osteoporosis. All I have been able to see is my lying on the table and the doctor injecting me in my neck with that darn needle while I lie there helpless. I have had the Xrays and and an MRI. His assistant did tell me that they would give me something to help with the pain - maybe Versed? I should know more next week.  I just finished four weeks of shingles, and I think I will have to wait another couple of weeks for the injection. I will certainly find out more before I finally commit. Take care.

  • I am 4-1/2 years out and am also very low dose cortisone injections for pain and neuralgia related vertigo. No major peoblems except that the dose is so low it doesn't always work well.
    • Hi There Mohan. This neuralgia pain is something else isn't it?  So, how often do you have the injections. I can't imagine living with Vertigo.  I would guess that we are all unique in how our bodies respond to the meds.  After 18 years and aging - I must not forget the aging! Many of the problems that I am experiencing are coming with age - yea.

      Thanks for responding. I look forward to getting to know you better.  Are you a heart transplant? What is the neuralgia caused from?

  • Yvonne, I am almost 6 years out. I am also an ardent exerciser. About two years ago, I was in severe pain. There was a shooting pain which ran from my neck, down my right arm and into my little and index finger, along with my thumb. I went to the doctor to see what it was and was referred to another doctor. It turned out to be a couple of bulging disks in my neck. I got a shot and was told that if it did not help that I would have to return to get another. I did end up returning for another shot. However, the pain was gone. I went through therapy and there was a time before I could return to the gym. I believe that the shots you are referring to are the type of shots that I got. I think they are called epidural shots. I know it is cortisone. I have been back in the gym for quite some time now and except for the time I missed recovering, I think I am none the worse for wear. Given my circumstances before and after, if I had it to do again, I would do so in a heartbeat. Good luck!

    • G'Morning Cisco appreciate your response.  You right they are epidural shots.  I feel foolish. When I said that I can treadmill like a 50 year old - that great feat was when I had my annual.  I am in the process of setting up a walking schedule. I should have done that earlier but so many things happening and so many doctor and lab visits that I am ready to pull my hair out.

      Wow bulging disks - ouch! This Osteoarthritis is so severe that the injection or surgery seem to be the only answer - or the pain meds.  I certainly am holding back because I am gun shy and have suffered so much pain lately that I find that I want to just run away somewhere and forget about all this. But, with all this great advice I am getting I most likely will go ahead and go for the shots and get it over with. Because I take Warfarin I will have to go through a procedure called bridging so that my blood INR readings will be able to be lowered enough so that I won't clot but high enough that I won't bleed out. It's just a matter of going off the Warfarin pill and onto Lovanox shots for a few days.  This probably sounds like Greek but it's the only way I have to describe the procedure.

      I go to my primary doc today and will talk all this over with her. You guys are going to think that I am one huge mess but I just got off a month of shingles and will find out today when I can set up the appointment for the epidermal.  I will keep you posted. 

      Just remember, I am not complaining and life is so wonderful and this too shall pass! Just having a connection with other transplant friends that I can talk to has made a great difference for me. Thanks.

  • Hi Mark,

    Thank you so much for your sweet remarks. Yes, I have held many a battered child in my arms and I have battled for them and sometimes I have even won.  Our court systems do not always work as they should. It has been a wonderful life because of all the children from many countries of the world that I have had the privilege of helping to adjust to a new experience in a new country.  I am so blessed to have had so many young people cross my path even those who were walking the wrong path. I would have to say that one of my big regrets is that after transplant I just haven't been as strong as I would like to be. However, being able to help children in any way is such a privilege. But to be allowed to help one of your own lost grandchildren brings such gratitude in my heart and to my donor family and my doctors for all they have done for me.

    Back to your wise advise. The injections will be Cortisone.  I have been in a great deal of pain for nearly a year now and have been on a mild pain med. So, I don't think that a pain regimen will upset my routine - but I am on such a low dose that it would be necessary to up the meds - so I would guess that could certainly "upset the apple cart" which I haven't considered. Thank you for pointing this out to me.  I will certainly mull this over in great depth before I make the decision not to have the injections.

    I am so happy for you to have received a liver transplant.  I had a friend who had her second liver transplant after twenty years. As far as I know she is still doing well with the second one. I wish you the best of all good things.


  • Hello Yvonne. You have such a wonderful smile in your profile pic. I would wager that many a young soul carried the image of that smile (and your kind eyes) to bed with them at night, holding it close to somehow still the sadness. You are such an inspiration.

    The dilemma you face with the Osteoarthritis treatment is not an easy one to solve. On the one hand you have short term pain with potential benefits coupled with uncertainty, on the other ... long term (but managed) pain with uncertainty. If I were making the decision for myself I would probably opt for the injections (is it cortisone or lubrication?). The logic would be that pain management via drugs might create instability with an already stable med regimen. If the injections do not work, the pain of them will pass and that option can be struck from the list.

    As a liver tx recipient just 2 years out, I obviously am not equipped to give you the benefit of my experience - only a guess on my part. As they say here in Texas, "that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee". You, on the other hand, have a deep well of wisdom forged from the many years of experience in making decisions ... good decisions. The one you make here will be the right one, I am certain of this. You have my hope and my prayers. Thanks for joining us here :)

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