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results from my lumbar epidural steroid injection

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 51,465
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Spinal Injections
Monday I had the epidural steroid injection (L5) and today is Friday. I'm still in a lot of pain. If you have had an injection how long did it take for it to work for you? Do you know statistics on success rate? I've been very sick since December 20th and I might have surgery if this doesn't work. It's scary. :$
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,735
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    ________________________________________________________________________________
    When it comes to ESI's, its almost seems like a crap shoot.
    So many people have good success with them and there are many others who did not get any results.
    I've had a number of ESI's over the years, I would say I have about a 50-50 ratio in terms of getting relief from them. But dont give up, before you consider surgery, make sure that you have exhausted all of the conservative treatments:
    - Physical Therapy
    - Aqua Therapy
    - Massage Therapy
    - Heat/Cold Therapy
    - Passive Traction
    - Ultrasound
    - Acupuncture
    - Relaxation Therapy
    - etc

    Make sure you try them all. But also make sure that what ever course of action you take, that you have the approval of your doctor.
    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
  • and it was a total waste of time. Not only did I blow 2 vacation days, but I was in so much more pain after the procedure. Oh yeah, and they were $1600 a piece. They wanted me to do a 3rd one and I told them to take a hike. I've heard of people who get great relief from these shots, some up to 9 months.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,735
    so different in the way they can produce results on patients.
    Yes, I know about so many people that had only pain as a result from ESI, but then I can say that I know that many people that had good luck with them.
    Putting things into perspective, any and all conservative treatments are better than going in for surger
    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 have had 2 epidurals. First seemed to be on the verge of working for the first couple of days then petered out. Second did nothing, third was aborted due to lack of success. I am one week past an S-1 nerve block which, like the epidurals, did nothing for my pain. Years ago I had bilateral knee injections, same story. I know they work for some people, but not for me apparently. On the positive side, I have had no negative side effects: Hot flashes, mood swings, extreme hunger or injection site problems of any kind. As others have said here and other forums, everyone responds differently, and you should probably exhaust all other options before taking the surgery plunge, though it appears that is where I am heading. I wish you luck and a positive outcome, whatever you decide to do.
  • Today was my 4th. I've had awesome results from my last 3- my last one gave 6 months of relief then I messed up and got myself into pain. Today's will hopefully be my last- but I have had nothing but good results from all of mine,.
  • One was no help, second was AWFUL! They aborted the third.
    After my partial shoulder replacement the PM said they wanted to inject my shoulder, after ortho had done it! I told the PM no way. Went to a second PM and he recommends an SCS after seeing all that has been tried in my files. I asked about all the different nerve blocks etc and was told that for me he did not think anything they do will work long term. If the nerves were going to behave they would have done so by now.

    I took this info back to my first PM thru my PCP and the first PM AGREED!

    Now waiting on the SCS trial...
  • I had three a couple of years ago and none of them worked!
    Next stop was the O.R. for a two level fusion. I had four months of relief and now I'm going to try one more. Doctor says that's all he can do unless I want to try pain pump.
    Why didn't he suggest neurotransmitter{sp} It seems less invasive?? At least it's smaller! Obviously I've only had one talk with DR. Praying that the epidural will work this time,and then we'll go from there. :H





  • I am scheduled for my 1st epidural injection(s) on Wednesday morning. I have been told what to expect during the procedure, and how to take care of the injection areas afterwords, but I have not been told I might have mood swings, food cravings, etc. that I have seen in the other posts. Are these common side effects for lumbar injections?

    My second question is related to the surgeon I am seeing.
    She is a Physiatrist (a fairly new specialty in medicine).
    I have checked her out and she has never received a negative review, and her background is clean, but I am wondering if I should be using a "regular back doctor"? I liked the idea of her specialty, as she will follow my case with physical therapy, back brace, etc. In otherwords, she will manage my case. Has anyone in this forum used a Pysiatrist?

    Thanks for any feedback I can get.
  • I've had 3...
    1st one - no change in sciatica pain/tingling/numbness, but I did get major hot flashes & mild fever & loss of appetite.
    2nd one - slight improvement in sciatica pain/tingling/numbness (seemed to move from my toes/foot to my ankle/shin), still having hot flashes & loss of appetite
    3rd one - no real noticeable improvement in sciatica pain/tingling/numbness...but my back has been hurting me more (not sure if that has anything to do with the epidural though), hot flashes seem to have lessened/went away & I'm hungry again.

    HTH!!
  • Had my 2nd Caudal ESI 4 days ago. Pain is worse, unfortunately. The first one stopped the burning in my foot... so I was hopeful with the second. I am supposed to go back again in 2 weeks for a 3rd. I am nervous that it may make things even worse. My goal is to avoid fusion after 2 L6-S1 surgeries ( have an extra disc ).

    My advise is to take in all this information - go for the shot and hope for the best. Do not become too discouraged from those of us who have not found relief... it may work for you as it does work for many... but if it doesn''t, you will know you are not alone either....

    Goodluck.
  • Last week Friday I had my third lumbar epidural injection with flouroscopy. First was Dec, 23rd. I did not think the first one did much, the second did about a 40% improvement and the third made me feel a normal human again. I heard this won't last so I'm staying busy with doing my exercises and loosing as much weight as possible. Totally off pain meds now and thirty days ago I could not live with the pain, and finally gave in to asking for Vicodin, which puts me to sleep. Ice packs every hour would provide me temporary relief. Today I feel I have been given a new chance at life.
  • calgal, how is your progress? still feeling well?
  • I'm an older person and it seems to have worked for me. Had my lumbar epidural 2-1/2 days ago and my lower back pain seems to have disappeared immediately following the injection. I went for short walk yesterday and a moderate one today and the only thing that mildly hurts is the sore at the site of the injection which will soon dissipate and also it did not seem to stop toes tingling but I can live with that so long as legs and feet cramping stays away. I also think my toes tingling could possible be caused by something other than sciatica, such as a mild iron deficiency, and will investigate this.

    Regarding the sedative and local pain killer:

    Unfortunately I had a negative reaction to the sedative injection VERSED which caused me to feel the opposite of the calming effect it was supposed to create - instead leaving me agitated which I understand happens in a small percent of patients. Also the part of the injection intended to dull the local pain of the needle CALLED, FENTANYL, didn't seem to do it's job and left me nauseous with loss of taste for two days. But that's OK now and the experience was well worth it.

    Don't know how long the injection will last but if I need another I will ask the MD to please give me something like Valium to calm me down (if anything at all) and probably no local pain meds at all or a different milder one that will not cause nausea - rather than the same meds and an additive to control nausea which has a tendency to knock me out.

    It's worth a try.

    I recommend trying it first before opting for surgery or to delay surgery until a more opportune time. If it doesn't work - then go for the surgery, but if it does work and lasts a good amount of time, you'll feel you made the right decision.

    If you cannot afford to go the conservative route you can always opt to choose surgery without experimenting with the costly injections. I understand the frustration of being told to go the conservative way when for many, it is financially impossible to play that kind of roulette. But try hard as you can to go the recommended route if at all possible and do the best you can if it is out of reach.


    Whatever you do - don't fear the injection. It's uncomfortable, sure, but its over quickly and a drop in the bucket compared to the drudgery of daily oppressive lower back pain and a tenth of a drop in a bucket compared to overwhelming major surgery.

    It works for some, but not for others but try to look on the bright side - it may work for you! Remember, attitude may play am important part in your healing process - then again, it may not for some. I hope my shot lasts forever as I have heard that occasionally it does. I will report back if and when there is a significant change. Could be tomorrow, or hopefully never. We shall see.

    Life's a roulette spin. Good luck all!
  • In my case, it was not worth it. The pain from the injection site was severe and lasted a full 2 weeks. So I was actually only able to enjoy being pain free for the 2 following weeks. Then my lower back pain and leg spasms returned. :''(

    It is now 6 months later and I am now considering surgery.

  • I have had a back injury at L4-L5-S1, did 11 months of conservative treatments and ultimately had surgery, after the Dr. Realized that I was on too many pain meds ( 150+) vicodin a week. The surgery went well. and 1 hour out of recovery I was on my feet and walking the halls, I didn`t want to sit down. Ut was my second lease on life.
    8.5 years later, I had a major blow out of my back and seemed that I had a herniation thru the old surgical scar and a collapsing disc at S1, had a few ESI and it seemed to calm it down along with pain meds periodically. then 2 years later another major blow out same site and totally collapsed disc S1, after being in the hospital and recieveing 2 injections, a week later Dr. Follow up and another injection, still no releif, then another follow up a week later , another injection, ( total 4 injections 1.5 minths. I know that only three a year are allowed, but was following Dr.'s advice. So I was refered to the pain clinic for Pain Managment, recieved another inject and another totaling12 in 2 years, was told that they wanted me to see a shrink to help me manage the pain in my head so to speak. I flat out refused, I told them that it is on black pn ehite what my medical problem is, If I didn`t have the injury I wouldn`t be having this pain. Then due to all the steroids Orally, IV and Injected into my body, I had every side effect that I was told to watch for, and now the problem I am having is one I was NEVER told about, that these ESI can cause severe Arthritis in the hip jount, and I now need to have a total hip replacement due to these the Dr. say's that will be hard to prove, but I never complained untill I had the 5-6 injection. Now the damage is done, and they have injected my hip twice.
  • One lumbar epidural steroid injection was enough for me to learn I did not want another. Too bad. Ah, well.
    Now I am finally in the midst of planning for actual surgery and will have to find the appropriate string for that one.

    I still think - if anyone cares, that lumbar epidural steroid injection is worth a try - just to see if it works for you.
  • I had my second injection, in the evening I passed out and ended up with 16 staples in my head from hitting the corner of a wall.

    My PA said that sometimes the injection will cause blood pressure to go down and the sugar to go high. Which had happened to me. When you have one make sure you are not home alone. As for my back and legs they do not hurt, but I have not done anything but rest.
    ~X(

  • So if you've read my posts under other topics you know I had bilateral lumbar epidural steroid injections Thursday. Woke up Friday feeling soooooooo much better. Yesterday still better but the 'better' started waning. Burning pain started in my legs and while I was standing straight, able to walk straight and faster, now today, I can't straighten up again and can't walk any faster than I could pre-epidural. The doc told me not to expect improvement until today and max improvement would be at the one week mark.
    I thought I read somewhere that sometimes if you feel relief really fast it doesn't last? Does anyone know anything about that? Has anyone had this experience and if so did anybody go back to feeling better after a couple days? (I'm praying this doesn't mean my relief is over and that it didn't work - I've done a complete 180 - rather do this than surgery if only it will work).
    I haven't done anything I was told not to and have done everything I was told to do. Hubby took me grocery shopping Friday afternoon and I just walked and put stuff in the cart and then - not carried groceries upstairs (except for bread - very light) but helped to put them away. Yesterday did some very very light housework for maybe 1/2 hour. Later we went out and walked around for about 10-15 min each in 2 stores - so I'm walking but nothing strenuous.
    I want this to work so bad, but afraid I'm going back to square one and will need the surgery!
    Looking for answers, suggestions and anybody who has had these injections, tell me how it went day by day for the first week or so!
    I am who I am!
  • I am afraid I am not much help. This is only the second one I have had. My first one worked for about the first 2 weeks, then not much after that.
  • Love your name, that was my mom's name. I hear a lot of people say 2 weeks and then I know a few where it lasted a long time, but from all the sites and research I'm doing, I'm getting the feeling a few weeks may well be the norm. I wonder if it matters which things are causing the disc problems. So the fall - how scary is that? I didn't try to go upstairs until that night and I was amazed how weak my legs felt. I did feel woozy much of the day and slept a lot but thank God didn't pass out. So did that hurt your back too when you fell? Can't imagine going through what you did! Bless your heart!
    I am who I am!
  • Ouchy-head-neck-back-woman said:
    So if you've read my posts under other topics you know I had bilateral lumbar epidural steroid injections Thursday. Woke up Friday feeling soooooooo much better. Yesterday still better but the 'better' started waning. Burning pain started in my legs and while I was standing straight, able to walk straight and faster, now today, I can't straighten up again and can't walk any faster than I could pre-epidural. The doc told me not to expect improvement until today and max improvement would be at the one week mark.
    I thought I read somewhere that sometimes if you feel relief really fast it doesn't last? Does anyone know anything about that? Has anyone had this experience and if so did anybody go back to feeling better after a couple days? (I'm praying this doesn't mean my relief is over and that it didn't work - I've done a complete 180 - rather do this than surgery if only it will work).
    I haven't done anything I was told not to and have done everything I was told to do. Hubby took me grocery shopping Friday afternoon and I just walked and put stuff in the cart and then - not carried groceries upstairs (except for bread - very light) but helped to put them away. Yesterday did some very very light housework for maybe 1/2 hour. Later we went out and walked around for about 10-15 min each in 2 stores - so I'm walking but nothing strenuous.
    I want this to work so bad, but afraid I'm going back to square one and will need the surgery!
    Looking for answers, suggestions and anybody who has had these injections, tell me how it went day by day for the first week or so!
    I had the ESI many of times and they did not work on me till i had 2-3 injections, but over a two year span I ended up getting 14 injections, when you are only allowed 3 a year, the steroid ended up ruining my hip joint , I experienced each and every side effect possible, Steroids are a conservative treatment, and if I had to do it all over again, I never would have had a 1 injection, Since the steroids, i gained weight my health was worsening and I needed to have Gasteric Bypass to counter react the weight gain and just had my hip replaced. My husband now has a back injury and he is terrified of the ESI as he has now had three and reached his limit for the year, but he has also seen what they have done to me, I will never be the same again and have now been proved disabled at 48. You should ask your Dr. to give you a Muscle relaxer, in addition to pain meds, taking these combined I found great relief better than the ESI injections.
  • I'm on Soma, sometimes it helps, other times not so much. Flexiril didn't help at all - although I've had it in the past for my neck and it did help that. Soma and the pain med give me a lot of relief in my neck and shoulder, but the back and legs are very very stubborn. Day 5 counting the day of the epidural I'm feeling quite a bit better - and considering yesterday, I think that's a really good sign!
    I am who I am!
  • So today is the one week mark since my epidural. I feel some relief, but I'd say overall it is 10-20%. I now understand how narrow my thecal sac is. It is 7mm, normal is 12mm, and at just 10mm it is considered stenotic. My hubby's is at 8-9mm and 3 years ago Dr. IMovedAwaytoTexas was going to do the minimally invasive surgery, now if he has surgery, it will be a bit more than that, he will have a laminectomy but just at one level - and he's been through the gamut of conservative therapy including epidurals. He never got much relief. Monday, I can call my doc with my decision on whether to get another injection or just go on with the surgery, which I know involves a laminectomy on 3 or 4 levels and possible rods and screws. I've gained my weight that I always do when given steroids - doesn't help the back. We all know epidurals provide pain relief but don't 'fix the problem'. Part of this is that hubs and I feel we need to close the book on the accident that put us in such bad shape. The down side of surgery for me is a 3-4 day hospital stay, which sounds to me like a lot of pain and using up my vacation days and possibly needing to go on short term disability for a week or 2 at 60% pay and I"m the major bread winner. Some day, the other driver's insurance will have to pay for that, but until then we play banker for the insurance company. I do telecommute and work from my computer all day for my job. So, for those of you that have had surgeries, how soon do you think I'd be able to do that? Pretty intense work, yes I can get up and take a break, but if I'm in the middle of a report, sure don't want to, basically have to start all over and the more I do, the better it is because I can possibly make a bonus each week. Not making the bonus wouldn't be the end of the world, but not making just the goal would disqualify me from making that bonus for 2 weeks. But I'm leaning towards having the surgery and getting it over with. My hubby doubts his epi will work but is hoping and praying, but will definitely have the surgery if he doesn't have superb results, and he had 3 already - last June, August and in Feb, one week before the wreck. He won't get paid while he is out and he'll be out completely for 2 weeks, and then can work part time and work himself back up to normal over a period of time. I think if I just go on with epidurals indefinitely, I'll be like him and need even more surgery. His doctor even said there is a 10-20% chance he'll need more surgery on the discs above L4-L5 later on, which he'd do if he had to. So I'm at a crossroads. I have to take a vacation day every time I have an epidural, and I'm just a couple days away from not having the required 2 weeks of vacation in order to get paid for the first 2 weeks, so there is that to think about too. I know I've read about people in spine-health having surgery and the overwhelming majority are so glad they did, wish they would have done it sooner, etc. So at 2am, I'm up thinking what should I do, what should I do.

    If the epidural would have provided more relief, I'd probably stick with them for a while. The day after was great, but it's been a roller coaster ever since and I certainly can't do all the things I need/want to do, even around the house. Still can't lift my grandbabies - and they only stay babies so long and that's paramount to me.

    What would you do, each of you?
    I am who I am!
  • So yesterday, the hubs was scheduled for his 4th epidural and we had to be there at 745. I get out of bed and immediately said OMG - OH NO! My pain has become worse than it was before the epidural and I never imagined that could ever happen, figured what I was feeling before was the worst possible pain it could be. I took him, and fought back the tears. While he was having it done, I left a message for my doc that I want surgery and soon, asked for some pain med that might actually give me relief and got an appt for next Friday so I can find out the ins and outs of surgery. This totally sucks, hubs is supposed to be resting (and I'm making sure he does just that) but he is worried about me and wants so badly to help me out.

    Has anyone had this happen 1 week - 8days (or a little more) after an ESI? The pain medicine he called in for me helps better than the other one did but nothing takes it all away. I'm not so sure there is any medicine that can take it all away. He gave me hydrocodone 10/325, and I can take one every 4-6 hours as needed - where before my PCP had given me hydrocodone 7.5/500 and I could only have 3 a day - and he said I'd have to get off it soon because HE could get in trouble. Lectured me on long term use - blah blah blah. Well I haven't been on pain med till the wreck happened in Feb of this year and he knows how desparately hard the hubs and me have tried to find a doctor that would do something! We finally found one. Neither of us can take NSAIDS orally because of stomach problems. I can't even have Celebrex because I'm allergic to sulfa. I felt like my PCP was punishing me for all that - he says it's now chronic pain and I looked up the technical definition of chronic pain - it is pain that lasts even though you are healed. My myelogram and exam from the ortho back specialist clearly shows I'm not even healed and I developed nerve damage over the months that I did NOT have right after the wreck. Thankfully, I've learned that I just need to ask my ortho specialist. The laws in TN are strict and my PCP did say he'd have to send me to a pain specialist and that he could only prescribe them for another month, so I looked up the law. If he would log what he's prescribing and why, he's fine. I have a love/hate relationship with him. Last appt he told me to make sure I'm taking my pain med at least when I get up and at bedtime b/c I told him I try my best to put off taking it until I can't stand it. Well as of yesterday 'the I can't stand it' seems to have set in. I can't imagine that now at 9 days past ESI that it will magically work. I'm thankful that my ortho (who sometimes has a good bedside manner and other times it sucks) really does have some compassion. Maybe it was me asking for back surgery or cutting off my legs that made him understand.

    Has anyone had this happen? Even my feet were very painful and I have foot pain with this just never so severe. As for pain medicine, I have had to wait a week for gall bladder surgery and was on much stronger med than I am now. I suffered with endometriosis for years and before the hysterectomy was on pain meds for a couple of months and after the surgical pain let up, I stopped and experienced no problems. I've had an ACL tear in my knee. I have never had a problem stopping pain meds and I've read if you are truly taking them for pain and following your doctors orders, you won't become 'addicted' although you might become physically dependent on them. So far that has not happened to me, but the answer to that is once the pain has been resolved, to gradually dose down. I'm a lot less worried about that than I am worried about keeping my job (I"m the major breadwinner and I'm the one with health insurance), and having a life and not writhing in pain 24/7!
    I am who I am!
  • Samanthabanana1SSamanthabanana1 Posts: 2
    edited 12/17/2015 - 10:34 PM
    I m 56 i ve had 2 sets of injections , none of them worked
    Going out of my mind with pain
    Thinking of surgery...

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  • brdunham11bbrdunham11 Posts: 1
    edited 01/05/2016 - 8:09 AM
    Its been 6 days and i do feel better. Altho i havent done any excercising or walking yet. Im supposed to take short short walks at first and build up. What i'd like to know is will i be able to do the things i used to. If this shot wears off in 4 months, is it worth it to just get the micro discectomy? I dont want to continually be wondering when the shot will wear off. I have been told that the micro discectomy is highly successful. Does anyone have any experience with this surgery?
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    I have had a previous MD in 2013. Epidurals dos not work then and now I have a new herniation at the same levelL3-4 with horrible leg pain. I have had 2 epidurals over the last month and continue to have the same pain. I think I am headed for a repeat MD.
    Afraid to go thru it again!!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,784
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  • I have had 3 c4 nerve blocks they have worked well i have several degenerated disks and was originally having the greatest pain from the median nerve. These shots were amazing, pain reduced by 90% and its 4 months post treatment.
    No unpleasant side effects but i am a type 2 diabetic and it elivated my sugars and i am severely hungry like every 3 hours.
    New mri showed degeneration at t4 and 5 and l5, l6 and one more i cant remember. Trying more shots, the first ones lasted about 4 days and now its all back except the leg and hip pain that pain is gone. My pain doc (anesthisiologist) wants me to try rfa next i am very confident with his reccomendations so as soon as insurance approves i am going to try. A little scared but i have so many discs that would have yo be fused the surgery scares me more.
    Thanks to everyone for posting their issues and results here it helps me to form quedtions for my doc
    E.loges, anchorage alaska
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,784
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