Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

My first Epidural Injection a Couple of Days ago Monday & It's Not Worth it for Me

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Lower Back Pain
Okay I have had Facet Joint Problems and Severe Muscle Spasms for 7months now. Heres My Experience of the Injection. I was Sched for 4 Facet Joint Injections 2 on each side. When Arriving the Anesthisiologist Recommended to try the Epidural Injection first because it Treats a Brode Area of the Back so I went with the Expert's Advice. She then explained it's not a Miracle Cure but it can SOMETIMES help with a Good Physical Therapy Program.
Okay Okay if It's Really not a Cure and it only sometimes Helps, What's all the Big Hype on Epidural Injections?? To me It was a Very Scary and Uncomfortable Experience. It's a Surgery without being Put to Sleep.
I was at the Hospital what seemed like Forever from 12-5. I had to Fast all morning without Food or Water and I was scheduled at 2:40 for my Injection. I was so hungry and and thirsty. They call you in for Prep and have you Undress into a Hospital Gown & Cap (except your underpants). THey then Put you in a Hospital Bed to Start an IV. They ask you Many Questions & then you Hafto Sign a Contract Regarding the Procedure. After about 1.5hrs they wheel your Bed in a Cold Operating Room 15 Min Prior to your Procedure, You Enter a Room with a Team of Medical Staff who ask you how your doing & if your comfortable. They then Transfer you to the Operating Bed to lie on your Stomach and put a Blood Pressure Band on that you hafto where for the next couple hrs so they can monitor your Blood Pressure. Finally your Dr. comes in and they Start your Procedure. You can't see what they're doing but you hear everything going on. To me it was much like a Real Operation without the Sleep Sedation and having to stay Overnight. The Pain not so Bad but a Strong Poke Stronger than a Shot or Blood Draw. When the Procedure is over they Transfer you back to the Other Bed and wheel your Bed back to the Recovery Room. You keep your Blood Pressure Band on & they continue to monitor you. Once your Okay and they Belive your okay they Offer you Juice and Crackers. They then Contact your Driver to have them sign Release Papers and to Bring the Car to the Front. They give you Care Instructions & then Transfer you to a Wheelchair and Wheel you to your waiting Driver for Pickup.(I'm still Starving but now with a Major Headache)
To me Really "It's not worth all the Drama just for something that "MIGHT WORK" for several Months at most!" I won't Ever Do it Again. It wasn't that it was Painful it's just EEERY and Depressing! My Pain Dr. called today & Said if this dosn't work & my Pain increases we might Try the Radiofrequency of Facet Joints or Rhizotomy. I think you hafto try this Approach first a Rhizotomy/Radiofrequency
"Today I am in a Little Pain but it's different." (sore & not as much Pain as Before) It may take a couple of days before the full Benefits occur but Still I won't go through this Ever Again! I wish Someone Explained just How long and Uncomfortable this Whole Experience Really Is..


  • Unknown,

    It sounds as if this procedure really got to you, and I'm sorry to hear that. I like your last paragraph where you say your pain is not as much as before. That means this epidural injection may have been the right thing to do.

    I had my c-spine epidural without IV or sedation, and I have heard others say the same thing. Different anesthesiologists have their own preferences. I have also had several facet injections, and on one of those I used sedation, and to be honest, it wasn't any better than not having sedation. Of course I am always a hard poke when it comes to getting an IV, so maybe that is why I chose for all the remaining ones to do them without the IV.

    The thing I wanted to point out is that, yes, it is a hassle and inconvenience to go through 5 hours at the facility having this done. I wonder if your anesthesiologist was backed up and that is one of the reasons it took so long, because I've never had to wait that long. But keeping things in perspective, if sacrificing that 5 hours of your time gives you some relief, wasn't it all worth it? Take it from someone who has gone through surgery, an epidural injection is nothing compared to surviving and recovering from spine surgery.

    You questioned why do these type of injections if they only sometimes work. There really is no guarantee in medicine that anything will work. The facet injections and rhizotomy may not give you any relief either. And if you eventually get to the operating table for surgery, there are no guarantees that you will be better then than now. Doctors do their very best, but sometimes there isn't really anything that will work for our particular situations. My advice to everyone is to try all conservative methods of treatment (ESIs would be in this category) before hopping on that operating table and letting a doctor cut around your spinal cord.

    I felt the need to respond to this post for two reasons. One to wish you well and let you know that it is a good sign that you already have a reduction of pain. I was told you don't get the full effects of the injection for approximately 10-14 days. The other was that i fear that your experience may persuade others not to try a procedure that is much easier on the body than undergoing major spine surgery. I'd like to tell my experience, if I may.

    Fast overnight for morning procedure.
    Arrive at hospital, fill out paperwork.
    Go to dressing area where I am given a gown to wear for teh procedure.
    Get taken back to the room where they do the procedure, which I can see how you would think it looks like an operating room because it is full of big lights, flouroscopy equipment, etc.
    The anesthesia guy then went over the risks of the procedure with me, and we discussed my symptoms.
    Lay on the table, being very still, while they position find the spot using the live x-ray.
    The anesthesia person warned me that I would feel a poke, which I did, but it was tolerable, and he injected with a numbing medicine of some sort at this point.
    The real fun came when he injected the actual steroid medication. I felt a 100% replication of my arm pain at an intensified level, but this only lasted 1-2 minutes.
    Get taken back to room where they checked my bp a couple of times and gave me juice and graham crackers.
    After about an hour, I was allowed to go home, with a driver.

    Yes, it was unpleasant, but having an injection is definitely worth trying in my opinion. There is no way I would say no to an injection but yes to something more invasive.

    Good luck, and for all you who are contemplating this procedure, have a detailed conversation with your doctor to find out the way he/she does the injections. Ask lots of questions because it is your body and you deserve to know what is going on.

    anyway, unknownissue, I hope that this injection will give you some relief, and I wish you the best.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • My copay was about $350 every time I had an ESI and like you said...it was just weird and yucky. I had one about six years ago that seemed to have helped longer. But the past two years, I got maybe two weeks of pain relief from the shots and everything went right back to where it was. My PM and the nurses (I can't spell) kept saying "sometimes it takes 3 shots to see a difference" or "maybe we didn't get it into the right place". That last statement scared me worse than the first. Anyway, I didn't go back for more. The last ESI I got gave me horrible back spasms the day after. Others had given me leg tingles and numbness that was different than I'd had before. Steriods are never really good for you. I know they reduce swelling and all, but over time, and for our whole body, they are bad.

    I wouldn't blame you if you don't go back for more of these. It's your body and your pain. If you continue to see less pain after two weeks, then you'll know it helped some. If things go right back to where they were, then you decide what to do next. Some folks had good luck with the nerve burning procedure. I never tried it nor was I offered it. I was afraid too that they would hit the wrong one and I'd limp or something. I'm sure that doesn't happen.

    If you have facet joint problems, what does your MRI say? Have you had any nerve studies done? I would push for more tests and see if they can narrow down what's causing your pain. Why did they do the ESI instead of the facet shots? Looks like the facet shots would have done you more good? I have wore down facets and my vertebras were moving around. On the MRI, only one was showing as slipped out just a bit. Overall, my lumbar was loose and worn out. I can say with my last surgery with hardware that my back feels a lot better and now is tight feeling.
  • If you happen to be the one person that is saved from having to have surgery, then the inconvenience of an ESI is worth it. And it is true that sometimes a patient will have no relief from the first one, and sometimes the second one...but it knocks down the inflammation enough that the third ESI provides substantial relief. There is just no way of knowing who will be helped and who will not.

    Also for many insurance companies, an ESI is a preliminary or gateway procedure for getting any further treatments or procedures OK'd.

    If it is any consolation, I think they get easier as you go along...and as with anything pertaining to your spine, be sure of the qualifications of the doctor that is doing the procedure.
  • I guess I was more concerned about the Risk involved with this Injection. I know the Risk are Rare but I was still concerned and asked many Questions. She explained the more Injetions we do the more at Risk we are for any Complications. So she Explained we could do the 4 Facet Joint Injections or the 1 Epidural & normally for the first time she recommends the Epidural. I'm Fortunatel to have good Insurance with a well known Hospital and my Copay was only $5.
    My Main Previously was mainly when I lie down in Bed. It dosn't matter what Position, Pillows, Crunched, Sideways. I feel a Heavy Burning Pressure or Weight on my Lower Back, it kinda feels like Cramps. It's only on my Lower Back & it's Not Radiating Anywhere else.
    I have had an EMG & Everything was Normal.
    My MRI showed Moderate Facet Arthropathy on L3-L5 with a Diffuse Disc Bulge.
    L5-S1 Mild to Moderate Facet Arthropathy and Diffuse Disc Bulging without significant central canal stenosis.
    The Drs Impression: Mild Spondyloarthropathy of the Lower Spine.
    I'm not real sure what all of this means but I'm only 31 and in major pain at night(Before). I would wake up in the Middle of the Night with Heavy Burning Pain. It felt like I'm carrying 3Bricks on my Low Back. Since the Procedure I feel Pain but Not nearly as Bad as Before, So Far so Good.
    I asked my Pain Dr.to Explain the MRI results & She says I have degenerative arthritis involving my Facet Joints.
  • The Procedure Itself didn't Hurt at all. I think I can take alot of Pain it was just more of the Waiting and Waiting and the Atmosphere of the Hospital. I Agree with you for many this is a Better Approach then Surgery. It will be a Cinch for Many to go in and and have this Procedure. They Scheduled me for an Afternoon Procedure but I had to be there at 12:30 to Prep for the 2:40 Procedure. It seemed like it took forever. I would Recommend for all to Request a Morning Procedure. You are Right nothing is Guranteed. I hope I get more Relief within the next 2weeks
    because then it will Really be worth it to me.
  • I had 2 done within a month of each other. I was in more pain after having the procedures than before, and will never have another, especially at the cost of $1,600 a piece.
  • I'm sorry you had to go through all that. I just go to a clinic and pull the pants down a little after putting the iv lock in. I get the ESI then I get the facet joint injections at the same time. It's not either or just both at the same time. No consent signed. No fasting. The first PM Dr did no iv but he didn't do facet joint injections. I'm getting the ESI for the leg pain. The facet joint injections are for the back pain and take up to 2 weeks to work. The leg numbness, tingling and pain are quite dimished after 5 ESI's. It's a hassle getting them done and they hurt so I take a sedative and extra pain med when I go. They're well worth the effects. I hope you get some relief. 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
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.