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Got an epidural and it hurt like h***. Is this pain normal...?

CityLifeCCityLife Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Spinal Injections
Got my first epidural yesterday -- and given the pain level, it might be my last.

During the injection they had to stop twice. It felt like a truck rolled over my hip. Now I'm guessing that's good to the extent that yes, all that back and hip pain are clearly linked to what's going on at L-4-5 with me. I did not have sedation and left fairly soon afterwards. Had trouble bending to get into the car and bumpy roads caused a lot of grimacing but I made it home and that's when the real pain started. I couldn't stand for more than a minute or two, had ice on my back constantly and took the Tylenol they'd recommended and still could barely breathe the pain was so intense. I'm not one for painkillers, but I'm stunned that they sent me home with none and I won't do that again. It was excruciating.

Now, I'm a baseline optimist and I think of myself as fairly tough, so I'm trying to figure out if this is all good somehow. Clearly, they hit the right nerve, right? It all makes me think that a fusion (being discussed) would be successful as it would relieve pressure on the nerve. I cannot imagine, based on all the reading I've done on epidurals, that most people experience this pain. So, what am I to make of it? Is it a comment on technique? On how much pain I've been in/how much pressure is already on the nerve?

As I said, I felt like a truck rolled over my lower back and hip and I cannot believe that's how most people feel after an epidural. Would love to hear thoughts on this or if others had this experience.


Grade 1 Spondylolisthesis. Last four months pain and numbness have been intermittent but increasing. Can't walk a block now. Numbness has traveled down leg to mid-calf.


  • I have found that each ESI is a different experience. I have had some that hurt at the time, but immediately after, I was comfortable. I have had others where I was concerned that the nerve pain might be permanent...and it hurt badly for several days afterward. I can't explain why this happens, but I do not think it is all that unusual.

    I have also had ESIs under light sedation, but the one disadvantage to this is that you do not know if the doctor got the needle in the right place, or not. Those too sometimes hurt for several days afterward, or not.

    I can't say whether others experience the same level of pain you did. That is a very subjective opinion.

    Hopefully the ESI will provide some relief for you...but if you have stenosis or the spinal nerve is compressed for another reason, you may find that the only thing that will bring you relief is surgery.

    You and I have similar issues at the same location. When I was having to drive to the mailbox at the end of my driveway to collect my mail because I couldn't walk that far, and I couldn't stand for more than about a minute, I elected to have surgery.

    Do you get any relief from lying flat on your back on the floor with your feet up on the seat of the couch??
  • <<Do you get any relief from lying flat on your back on the floor with your feet up on the seat of the couch??>>

    Ha! My new favorite position! ;)

    Thank you for the response, Gwennie.
  • I spend a lot of time that way...it helps the discs unload and gives you a break from gravity pushing down on the discs. Hope it helps you, too.
  • Scheduled for my third today. Not so much fear of the injections , my first was a breeze. The second one not so much. I tink they hit something else. Bad headache set in right away , unable to stand , get off table. My back just gave out . Finaly got home with no pain meds and felt no relief. Headach lingered for 2 days. Aften meeting with them today going over all my pain , visit to the emergency room for morphine shots. Incidents of stumbling , falling down stairs we decided to hold off third.Follw up with neuroligist then come back to pain clinic. They did give me a precription for nerotin. They say it will help me sleep. I think if you found relief from the shot , you need to weigh the pain from every day to he pain you feel from the injection. I know the difficulties, I also get coritzone shots in both my knees, hips, and right shoulder. The pain of the injections in my knees and shoulder is off the charts, Makes me sick to my stomach and faint. But I keep going back for more because the end relief is far better then the pain I feel while the injections are happening . Karenl
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