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Epidural Injection ??????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi all great and supportive friends!!!
I'm 24 male with L5-S1 disc herniation. I actually herniated my disc 6 months ago and have sciatic pain in my left leg. After the first 2 months, there was some improvement;pain was about 2 out 10. Then i started doing PT , but i began having tingling on my left that I've never had before PT.Until the last 2 weeks, my leg started getting more pain because i did some rotation exercises from PT.Now walking, sitting, sleeping all create "pain" which are really upset me. Yesterday, he put me on the "Spinal Decompression Machine" there was no pain at all during time i laid on that machine , but when i drove home my leg started having extremely excruciating pain more than 20 mins .

I just saw my DR to see what options i can possibly have and talked to him what 's going with my leg (i'm thinking about getting the injection). He said : At this point right now , i have 2 option 1. to get the injection 2. to get surgery.I wanna get the injection , but the problem is i can't afford to get that shot although i have insurance (The BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas). They said some things about the deductible , they said i have to deduct 2500$ for my insurance to be covered 80% or deduct 4500$ to be covered 100% which makes no sense to me.

Now my leg is getting worse ,and being a college student and working part-time. I honestly can't afford that. This seems like the end of my life...( i even think about having surgery because my herniated disc is huge 1cm,but unable to pay for the shots , i don't even dream about surgery)

Is there any option for me ..Can all of you help me out?

Once again, thanks for spending your value time to read my long post.


  • I also have a herniation at the L5-S1, along with the L4-L5. Well About 8 months ago I was in the same position as you, only option was injections or surgery. Well I was so scared of the injections but the pain got to be too much to handle and I had an injection in the L4-L5 a month ago. Luckily the insurance I have covered it. But I had the horrible sciatic pain through the buttochs and thighs. Instantly after the shot there was no more sciatic pain. But sadly, the shot only helped me for about 2 weeks. My pain now is prolly worse than before the shot. But the shots affect people in different ways. I'm glad I did it. Best of luck, sorry I can't help with the insurance. I also am a college student... Oh and praying always helps!
  • Hi Bumhurt (Sorry to call you this way)
    How is your pain right now? is it still awful pain or something you can deal with? Have you had surgery or still had the injections?
    Well i will talk to my insurance tomorrow to see what they actually say..
    Thanks for your post, and hope you feel better..Take Care
    -Phuc Nguyen-
  • teonguyen
    Without going into extreme detail I had a VERY Similar almost identical situation as you. 2-3 months of Light leg pain in the beginning and then after a little therapy extreme pain (could hardly walk).After getting an MRI and determining that I had a bulging L5 that was touching my nerve I limped to the doctor.
    So I went and got epidural injection number one and that allowed me to sleep better but still couldn't drive or go to work without having to lay down every few hours. I took 10 days off work and stayed on my back.
    Epidural #2 brought more relief and I felt about 80-85% better. I got the third one on the third week and was about 90%.
    So I felt like I was getting better however I still had bad leg pain in the mornings but by the evening the pain was gone but always lingering. Sadly to say I had a recurrence this last Sunday about two weeks after my last injection. So I just got one more injection this afternoon and the pain is once again still lingering about a 2/10.
    SO to answer your question the shots help alleviate the pain but will not always solve the problem. I have a close friend who had the shots three years ago and she's fine today. Everybody is different. I am now seriously considering surgery myself. Im gonna give it another month and then decide.

    I assume that since the insurance company wont pay for shots you haven't had an MRI. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU AND YOUR DOCTOR WILL WANT TO SEE BEFORE YOU DECIDE ON SURGERY. Im sorry about your insurance woes maybe you can get financing or a student loan to pay the deductible. GOOD LUCK I FEEL YOUR PAIN LITERALLY,
  • Hi,

    Ask the billing dept. of wherever you are to have the injections what they accept as reimbursement from insurance companies. This is usually less than half of what they bill. (Example: I had an MRI recently, the facility billed the ins. co. $2600.00, the facility accepts $750.00 as payment in full per their contract with the insurer)

    Offer to pay that amount in installments. If this is a hospital, they will agree to it.

    Best wishes
  • Hi Salty!!
    Thanks for comment, I literally understand the epidural injections' result will be different. I just want to try it cause it might or might not help me, and the shot will affect people differently. If the shot works on me, i can delay the surgery, I just talked to the insurance company this morning, they said whatsoever i get the shot or surgery i have to deduct 2500.It sounds like the surgery is better choice.

    I had the MRI done 4 months ago..Here my MRI result.

    L4-5 shows a minimal disc bulge flattening the thecal sac anteriorly. Central canal and foramina are patent.

    L5-S1 is significant for presence of large disc extrusion which is eccentric to the left measuring 1cm in AP dimension. This is associated with an annular tear about its posterolateral margin to the left. A small component of disc extends slightly caudal to the interspace. This extends into the left lateral recess contacting and deflecting the left S1 nerve root. The right S1 is crowded however not deflected. The central canal remains patent. There is mild narrowing of the left neural foramina.

    IMPRESSION: Large L5-S1 disc protrusion effacing the left S1 nerve root within a lateral recess
  • Hi Sugaree!!!

    Thanks for the guide .i will call them and ask or i might go to the hospital ..the place where i currently go to is the clinic
  • teonguyen...I had sciatic pain that was controlled by epidurals for 5-6 years....the shots worked great for me...if you find a way to get them (considering your economic situation) make sure they are done by an anithesiologist using a floroscope and are administered in the right location.....my injections were called "transforaminals"...I have heard that some doctors just give you a "general" shot in the back that only gives relief for a short amount of time (a few days)....so make sure you get the real deal.....hang in there!
  • Hi,

    As you probably know from reading the blogs the injection works for some and not others...Sadly it did not work for me but made things worse, could of been a coincidence the disc totally herniated hence having emergency L5-S1 disectomy and decompression of the spine.

    Don't be put off though, you may respond well to this treatment and may settle your symptoms..but if your disc does require surgery to allievate scaitica. Start with the less invasive option first :-)

    All the best.
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