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Prednisone or Steriods? Updated

charryccharry Posts: 5,753
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Pain Medications
Hi Everyone, I was wondering I hear so many people have been given oral steroids by their Doctor. My Doctor never gave me any. The only steroids I had was the marcaine for injections. Did everyone get steroids from their Doctor? Thanks just wondering. Charry
I meant I had Kenalog and Depo-medrol for the ESI's sorry and marcaine for the triggers amd facet joint injections. I still haven't tried Prednisone yet.

DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN


  • Marcaine actually isn't a steroid, it is a local anesthetic (like lidocaine, but longer acting). Steroids are very strong anti-inflammatories, and work especially good on nerve inflammation. It is an automatic thing we give our dog and cat patients when they come in with head or spinal trauma. I was put on two 5-day courses of oral steroids this summer when I first had my neck injury. They worked GREAT at relieving my neck pain. They also used injectable steroids during my ACDF to minimize surgical inflammation. The problem is that long-term steroid use does have side affects. Just ask anyone on prednisone for Chrone's Disease. Some short term affects include stomach ulceration and delayed healing, so it is not something you should take while you are trying to recovery from surgery. Also, you never want to take NSAIDS and steroids together... this is very hard on your stomach and liver.
  • no i wasn't given any altho like you i was given caudal injections.

    I have seen on the web conflicting opinions. Some papers suggest the steriods may hinder fusion and some papers say it may help....Look for the web videos - I saw it there but not sure which site. It was an OR Live something.

    Take Care
  • A few people here have had oral steroids. I have had a course of oral steroids (prednisone) when I had a form of Bell's Palsey. As rivertime said they are an excellent anti inflammatory, especially on nerve inflammation, but they can have significant side effects including mood swings.


    There are also corticosteroids - usually used in the treatment of joint pain or inflammation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corticosteroid
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I got severe mood swings last year after a shot, thankfully my rheumatologist agrees that considering my mental illness that they are not the way to go. I actually felt like I was outside looking in, creepy stuff.Plus the other side effects are nasty too.But, its a matter of discussing the pros/cons with your doctor.They do a lot of good for some people and you may get some relief.
  • i had a RX for prednisone before it worked wonders!!!
    of course it was not long term.
    i felt a immidate difference in about 3 days. it was the best feeling ever.
    this was when my knees were really bothering me.
    i had some nausea with them but no other side effects for myself.
    good info everyone gave you.
    please check out the link that bruce gave ya.

  • I was put on steroids on October 25th after a particularly nasty setback with pain, especially muscle spasms that were uncontrollable.

    I started at 20 mg. of oral prednisone (as rivertime said, Marcaine is local anaesthetic; I have it at home for trigger point injections), and within 24 hours my pain and spasms were reduced by approximately 80%. At the time I went on it, the pain in all my attachment areas (anything that attached to bone) was completely out of hand, and I was having Demerol shots on a regular basis because nothing else would ease them.

    Prednisone has nasty side effects, i.e. it's hard on the stomach, causes terrible mood swings, bruising and bleeding easily, and I went into immediate menopausal-like symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats galore). It's usually used short term, so I am now tapering off, which has to be done slowly and carefully, and I will be finished by Monday.

    Unfortunately, I can feel the pain returning already, but the spasms haven't increased as badly as I expected. The good thing is that I know this will be a great "rescue remedy" for me when things get out of hand again. I do know people who take low doses, i.e. 5 to 7.5 mg, for weeks or even months at a time, but then you get the water retention/weight gain issues (if you've ever known anyone who's been on it a long time, their face gets quite puffy).

    I've also had corizone shots in my shoulder and shoulderblade, and recently had three strong steroid injections into my elbow for a nasty case of tendinitis. Unfortunately for me, it was TOO strong, and my skin is now completely white in that area and all the fat under the skin disintegrated, so I'm left with what looks like a skin graft scar.

    It's a great drug for emergencies, but it has a lot of "down" sides to it. I have to say I understand how people get to where they WANT to take it, because for a couple of weeks after I started the oral dose, I was running around the house like Superwoman!!

  • I also have two friends that have been on it with wonderful results. One with a ruptered disc and one with siatica pain. I wonder too why no one has suggested this for my pain. They have determined that I have nerve pain.

    Is this somthing that needs to be suggested to a doctor? Or would that be stepping out of bounds?
  • There are also other steroids out there besides prednisone. I was put on a five day course of methylprednisolone 4mg after my MRI. It was a tapering dose from the beginning... 4 pills/day, then 3 1/2pills/day, then 3 pills, etc. It really helped with the pain. However, about a week after finishing, the pain started to come back so they put me on a second 5-day course and then switched me to NSAIDS. The NSAIDS never worked as well as the methylprednisolone, but the steroid was able to kind of get the pain "under control" and the NSAIDS kept it at bay (along with valium and hydrocodone!). Pretty much all of my pain and symptons were due to nerve inflammation, so I probably responded better than someone with long term pain from other sources.
  • I have had to have several taper packs of prednisone for rheumatiod arthritis. After my accident the ER doc prescribed then for me to keep the inevitable inflammation at bay and I've had them after each surgery. However I wouldn't tkae ANY type of steroid long term for any reason. There are just too many side effects and they cause too much organ damage if used long term.

    If it weren't for all the bad stuff I'd take them all the time. I do feel almost "normal" when I'm on them.....sigh.

  • Please be so careful with the steroids on a even a short-long term. The dose packs are great and okay to take 3-4 times a year but the contiuing oral 5-20 mg daily dose has side effects on your interior body you can't see. Please read the effects of use before it gets to you. I took 10mg daily for a long time and now I have weigh gain, blood pressure problems. Just read and make an informed decision before taking it. I agree it is marvelous for pain relief, but we all know we need no other problems with the pain too.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,720
    Over the years I have taken many different 'sets' of Prednisone treatments. I've had it to take care of severe cases of Poison Ivy, I was using it when I had the 'strange rash of early 2008', and I've used it a number of times to reduce some of the inflammation that was bothering my back.

    It works, but just make sure you titrate off the dosage as the doctor subscribed. You dont want to be taking 60mg for a couple of days and then use nothing.

    I've also notice some bloating while taking it for more than a week.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I already want another pack of Prednisone took my first pack after I got my MRI in Sept. Even though it will just be a tease of what my life would be like with a good neck.
  • You must helped me realize something; I was on the prednisone (20 mg.) for a couple of weeks, then tapered off and finished about eight days ago. During the time I was on it, I had to make a couple of trips to the ER and my blood pressure was MUCH higher than usual. I know the pain/stress can do that, but it was still higher than normal. I bet it was the prednisone...

  • Yesterday was a week since I finished my prednisone off, and my physiotherapist noticed a HUGE change (not a good change, either) in my low back movement and the sensitivity in every area around my SI joints and spine. The muscle spasms are coming back again (nooooooo!! :SS ) and I'm dreading what Christmas has to hold.

    I've been thinking about my mother-in-law (she passed away in September), as she had been on prednisone for a long, long time due to COPD and emphysema. She basically lost ALL her teeth to it and was constantly covered in bruises. It's a shame that the things that make a difference are the ones that can do the most damage.

    suziee - I've had back pain for a total of 27 years, and this was the first time it ever came up as a treatment option. The other option that was mentioned was methadone, so I may still look into that.

  • Are good for short periods of time, but they can have such bad side effects for some. They generally are not used long term unless you are what they call a chronic lunger. For us spiney people, in the consertative stage, they decrease inflammation and for a short while makes us for almost "normal". They can can cause face to become puffy and red, increase appetite, increase B/P, and mask alot of other stuff going on.
    NS are so different with things after surgery, mine said absolutely no NSAIDS, along with a few other restrictions of OTC meds, so I have to be careful when I get a headache, cold, etc. Oh, by the way Im 9 weeks post-op from a 4 level fusion! Not feeling to bad, still will have the occasional bad days. My NS doesnt start PT till 12 weeks post-op. I do alot of walking which helps. Good luck to you, and remember its one day at a time!!! :)
  • I was on an oral steriod for a while. I think it was Prednisone. Whichever it was, I had horrible insomnia. Literally couldn't get to sleep before 3AM. The pharmacist said it was because of the steriod. When I went off it, I was back to falling asleep at my usual time after I caught up on the missed sleep. I was completely exhausted after one pack. FYI
  • As everyone has said, oral steroids are used for many medical conditions-breathing issues, allergy issues, pain...lots of stuff. Also, they're used for cancer along with whatever treatment regimen. I took Prednisone when I was in treatment for ovarian cancer 5 years ago and boy did I get puffy! It wasn't just my face, tho that was pretty bad-but my whole body was swollen/bloated, not like normal "weight gain". Course, I may have had worse reaction than others because it was coupled with the cancer treatment stuff. I had blood pressure problems too and I can't say for sure it's the reason, but I have a lot of dental problems (decay) that I never used to have and I'm convinced it's from both the oral steroids as well as the injections I get (used to be every 8 weeks, now it's every 12). It sucks too cause my teeth are literally crumbling. I can bite into soft stuff and crunch-pieces of tooth again! I'm so afraid I'm gonna have to get dentures by the time I'm 40 (I'm 34 now).

    Don't mean to scare ya-and not everyone reacts to meds the same way, but you definitely wanna do your research and have a frank discussion with your Dr if you're gonna take oral steroids, OK?

    Keep us posted, and hope you're pain lessens soon!

    Take care of you...
  • I had an injection in my hip joint and about 2 weeks after my whole upper thigh went into spasm. Lasted on and off for 3 weeks. Had an ESI for nerves on the left side of spine. Four days after injection left gluteal muscle went into major spasm. Had to take Baclofen, and took time to go away. I have underlying spasm and knots from myofascial syndrome all over. I have had spine issues since a teenager at cervical, thoracic, and lumbar requiring chiropractic care for all the years from then to now. I will be 50 in February. I know I have ddd at c5-c6 with arthritis, and ddd at l4-l5 with almost total disc loss and herniation. Seeing a pain control doc today who will probably want to do more injections. Expensive and haven't worked. Would really like some actual pain control with medication, but docs don't want to give you stuff that actually works due to addiction concerns etc. Hurting a lot, especially from tight aching muscle knots all over. Actually hurts to press on the muscles, results in a burning feeling as well as aching. Any suggestions folks. Really miserable, frustrated, and depressed. Thanks. CA
  • I'm sorry to hear you had some problems with the ESI's. I had trigger point injections along with the ESI's and they're supposed to elongate the muscle and stretch out the knots. A PT can also do some trigger pressure message also to help with the muscles. I had facet joint injections that helped with the arthritis in my lower back also. I hope you find a good PM Dr. to help you more. I'm on my 3rd waiting list for a PM and each Dr. gave some good advice but I'm glad my Primary handles my medications. I hope you find a 2nd opinion PM Dr. to help you. My Dr. gave me Cymbalta for nerve pain and told me to take the Lyrica for stabbing sharp pains I get although not too fond of Lyrica's side effects on me like weight gain. I hope you feel better or a little less pain soon. Take care. CHarry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I have been given steroids for several health related issues, including my back problems and now am dealing with not only tooth decay due the predisone and prednisone type meds but also with the death of the bone in my wrist , directly related to my having been given steroids . I now need surgery on my wrist to fuse it, or remove the row of bones closest to the ulna and radius. It is called avascular necrosis or Keinbocks' Disease and can happen to anyone .
    Everyone needs to be extremely careful with how much and how often you are given ANY type of steroid, since AVN can happen in any bone or joint in your body at any time after being given steroids. My last dose of steroids was last spring and I was diagnosed with this AVN of the wrist and they also suspect my hips has it in November.
    The side effects of steroids compound over time, and you need to be watchful for all of the side effects and get them checked out if you experience them. Most of all be watchful of the amount of any steroid you are given.
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