I cant add much either but can tell you my experience. My first bout with pain I finally after going to several docs in severe pain was loading doses of dexamethazone (and pain meds) and it seemed to knock it down quickly however the next times I tried it, it didnt work as well. I dont know if type of steroids and dosage might make a difference for you? You mentioned “mild” pain killers. Well this is when you have to get more demanding and request stronger pain meds.Easier said than done Because of the addiction issues, it is so much harder to get docs to give RX for opioids. When I have had some of my worst pain flairs, oxycodone barely takes the edge off. Muscle relaxers also a good suggestion.
Worst comes to worst, take a driver and go to ER and ask for shot of morphine or demerol.
I have been getting a variety of injections into neck and jaw. Primarily botox, steroids, & nerve blocks. The nerve blocks wear off quick but give you some relief even a few hours of no pain. Steroids take a fews days to a week to kick in. It usually takes the right type of docs to do these type of injections. It will realistically take weeks to get into these kind of docs to get these injections. Its unlikely an ER would have a doc on staff to do them either unless you go to some major medical university setting with lots of specialists on staff. I can suggest trying to get your PCP to refer to a pain center that does these kind of injections and get an emergency appt for you? Some here get pain meds such as gabapentin or amytripline which you might have your PCP call you RX for.
Even though I had my ES surgery, I also have TMJ. A few weeks ago, I had an emergency tooth extraction that put me into the kind of pain you speak off. After multiple visits to dentist, oral surgeon and then to my TMJ specialist, I did get the injections I needed as well as an RX for a topical pain ointment which I had to pay out of pocket for. This stuff had combo of ketamine, lidocaine and amytripline. I also got an rx for nerve pain called baclofen. It takes a special kind of doc to give RX like these for pain and months waiting to get in. After all this, I still ended up in the emergency room. I can relate to your pain. It is awful. I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up until it was all over.
When all was said and done, a friend suggested I might have had more relief from drinking some good shots of vodka. I might just try that one next time.
Alternative options: accupuncture, cranial sacral therapy, light massage, cold laser therapy. As a side note, i have gotten chiro adjustments before and after ES surgery but have a good doc I trust. There are some more gentle chiropractic adjustments. Hang in there Hatty!