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Is there a 3 injection Limit?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Spinal Injections
I have had 3 Cortisone injections in my lumbar spine. 1 in 2005 and 2 in 2007. I am being told that I can't have any more because you are only able to get 3 injections otherwise there is risk involved. Am I misunderstanding them or am I just nuts? I hear of people getting multiple injections, so why have they said I reached my limit?


  • I had a series of two injection and was told that I could only get 3 done with in like 5 years I believe. I think it depends on where you have the injection. I have put off my third just in case.
  • Sorry, I don't know the answer, but I thought I'd give this subject a little bump, since I'm curious, as I am sure you are :p
  • I spent nearly five years having regular Cortisone shots. There is generally a limit of three shots per year, subject to the discretion of your doctor. The benefit of injected Cortisone is that it is released into the circulation slowly, so its anti-inflammatory effects last a long time. Relief, which typically begins a day or so after an injection, can then sometimes last for months, depending on the situation.

    The reason that Cortisone is limited is due to the fact that most people need their shots in the same area and there are inherent dangers of problems due to excess amounts and therefore the medical profession has set a limit. A very serious side effect of a cortisone injection is the death of bone at the injection site. The condition is called avascular necrosis, and while it occurs most commonly in the hip, knee, and shoulder it can also affect the spine.

    There are many other good reasons for limiting Cortisone, not least that Osteoporosis can occur with Cortisone use because the hormone can interfere with the body's production of vitamin D, which in turn limits the absorption of calcium from food. Since calcium is an integral part of bone, its diminished level affects bone growth and replacement. Our bodies make their own prostaglandin and leukotriene which can also be curtailed by excess cortisone, which adversely affects cartilage.

    These are all potential consequences and there are many others not yet quantified that may affect the overuse of Cortisone. Nevertheless they are sound reasons to limit the use of this steroid.

  • Ashley,
    Here is my experience with cort.shots. When I was just 14 years old I would have awful shoulder pains. Sometimes just one shoulder sometimes both. I remember being young and a doctor telling me it was growing pains.(this was so not true)When I turned 18 I seen A rhumey doc. that I still see 28 years later. The pain was not year round. I would know when I could just hold breath and get through it, but I learned after years when it was gonna get better on its own and when it wasn't. My Rhuemy would give me shot in shoulder some times both and some times just one shoulder even when both shoulders hurt, him giving it in one would actually make both shoulders feel tons better.I had shots for a 25 year period usually twice a year.(my working years always involved using shoulders and lifting)2 times about 5 years ago he actually gave me a cortisone shot in mid area of back. They always helped me,I always got good results. My only other option during this time was surgery.
    Now for the last 3+ years I have not worked due to many reason.Ever since not working my shoulders have not gotten to the point where I needed any shots. As long as I don't use them they stay so so with the pain.And when I have had P.T. I never let them do anything with my shoulders, I am very protective with anything to do with my shoulders
    I also want to mention that when I would get the cortisone shots in the shoulder area it would help with pain in other areas of my body(kinda strange but true)
    Approx 3years ago I got a series of epidurals in cervical area. much different then the cortisone shots I had received for so many years. after 2nd epidural I had a hard time swallowing which became worse everyday to the point that I could not swallow at all. I had many swallow studies done and 2 upper endoscope surgeries.The swallowing has gotten better and I have had to learn a different way to swallow then the normal person would.The doctor that did epidural and surgeon that ordered it say this was not caused by epidurals. I have my own opinion on that. I also lost my gag reflex.
    After my surgery Feb.4th 2009 my swallowing did not get worse(doc.s where afraid it might)I think it might of gotten better.(maybe I'm just used to my goofy throat with a mind of its own)....
    P.S. to John B. thanx for your info. I found it interesting and learned a thing or 2.
    Good wishes to all....Patsy
  • I also live in Illinois.
    I have a daughter that is 26 and a son 28.
  • Thanks everyone for the information! I really appreciate it. This board is awesome! I was just wondering about it because the pain in my lower back is starting to get bad again and I was thinking of instead of another surgery, if I could ask the Dr about another injection. I still have to make an appt with him and see what is exactly going on in my spine, but I just wanted to get some info beforehand. Thanks again!
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