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Medrol DosePak, how long has it worked for you?

FarmgrrlFFarmgrrl Posts: 146
I wasn't sure where to post this; I figured that my sciatic pain has been the most bothersome issue I've had lately so I decided to post here.

As a background, my MRI & treatments are all listed below. I don't think I need to go into my whole story.

My question has to do with my most recent stint with the Medrol DosePak. I had my most recent ESI on Nov 13th and exeperienced minimal relief but then experienced some of the most excruciating spasms & leg pain four days later (on a Saturday) with new left leg & foot numbess. The following Monday (last week) I was saw my pain mgmt doc and was prescribed another Medrol DosePak I started feel the effects by that evening and I have been feeling good ever since. I'm not 100% pain free, still have lower back ache and upper back/shoulder pain from compensating for the lower back issues. However, my leg spasms and pain are almost non-existent. My numbness still persists with perhaps a smidge of improvement, have had some burning around the numb areas in my foot.

I have an appointment to meet with my NS next Monday and I would feel stupid showing up to see him without the pain that I'm going to see him for. My gut tells me just to keep the appointment and get his input anyway. My boyfriend reminded me that I've felt good for short periods of time then had it come back with a vengeance over these last two months so he wants me to keep it.

My understanding is that the relief is temporary, but how temporary? I've never had this happen before. The severity of this pain has been equal to, if not worse, than the pain I had two years ago with the first L4-L5 herniation. Now, all of a sudden, its almsot gone! I know not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but its kind of weird!

Just looking to see if anyone else has had this happen? Anybody with a similar experience?

Thanks guys,



  • Probably the steroid from the injection coupled with the medrol was enough medicine to reduce the swelling enough that your L5 nerve root is no longer compressed, and to calm down the other issues. There is no way to know how long this effect may last. If you are very lucky, it could be forever...but that is probably overly optimistic!

    The annular tear at L3-4 may also be a pain generator.

    I would keep the appointment. Your NS does not need you to be in pain to determine what is causing your problems.

  • Thanks Gwennie,

    I'm thinking I should just count my lucky stars for the relief I have right now. I was thinking the same about the effects from both steroids. It would be nice if everyone got both oral & epidural steroids at the same time, they'd probably have greater relief! Too bad the side effects are so nasty though.

    I'm thinking that if they offer me a surgery date, I'll take it just in case.
  • Like Gweenie posted here you may be lucky like the person who had the ESI worked but now is the time for you to take control. Now is the time to make the changes in your lifestyle to heal. Start a PT program with walking and so simple exercises in the site and make the most of it. Now is the time to heal!! You may be one of the lucky ones.

    Go very slow with simple stretches and walking that you can find here or that a PT specialist can give you. If you go to a PT say you want simple things I can do for my herniated disc.

    Still go to the NS and maybe he can give you some meds so you can do some of the PT and give you the time to avoid the surgery.

  • I found great relief while I was on the medrol pack, but once I was off the one pain came back.

    The last pack I took was for pain after a fall (I had two microdiscectomies in March 09). I think that does did help but not signficantly. I am continuing to the exercises that I learned during physical therapy.
  • Thanks guys, I guess I'm kind of in a unique situation here. It seems like Gwennie is right, I think I'm experiencing a synergistic effect from the shot and the pills. Still very little issue with my leg. I've been afraid to push it too much with exercises because I don't want that pain to come back! I'm also trying to take it easy because I have to work 4 12-hour shifts over a 5-day period for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. (I definitely get lots of walking done at work). This is the most I've attempted to work in the last month. (This schedule was made back in September, only if I had known I'd be going through this back then!!!) Then I see my neurosurgeon on Monday...we'll see if the pain decides to come back after all that work.

    I know that eventually I need to get back to doing my exercises. I had some PT after my micro-D but most of it was aimed at addressing my left foot weakness and just a little at the end was aimed at stregthening my back. The only time I've been to PT for my back was for my herniation at L5-S1 back in '01. My PM doc has been reluctant to send me back to PT because my insurance company will only let you go once (for up to 90 continuous days) per condition. For example, if she sent me to PT for this, then I ended up having surgery and needed PT afterward they wouldn't cover the post-op PT. My insurance is great in many ways but lacks in this. I do have copies of the exercises from my PT in Jan '08 still! Have I been doing them? Err...not quite :| I'll say this bout has been enough for me to decide to make some changes in my life!
  • Sounds to me like you are using a heck of a lot of cortisone - be careful.

    I like cortisone injection, and only take them every 3 to 4 months. The pills take the inflammation down, but for the kind of problems I have (scoliosis and sacroiliac disease), once I start moving around I am in pain again. The shots at least have the "number" in them. I can usually get a bit of relief for 2 to 3 days on that.

    I hope you think for yourself and not allow yourself to be lead along to questionable treatment just because your doctor has a "masterful" affect on you. I am amazed by how many people take surgeries that land them in worse trouble than they were in on this site. Please, just think for yourself.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,836
    I had two deep cortisone injections into each shoulder to relieve arthritis pain. I had this done twice before and had immediate relief. This time one shoulder responded the other got worse. The doctor then put me on a Medrol Dos Pack and finally Flexor patches. All these did not help at all.
    The success of the Medrol pack and other Cortisone/Steroid medications is when it is administered and just how severe a case it is trying to remedy
    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
  • Thanks guys...

    My pain is coming back so I guess that answers my question! Its manageable so far, had my NS appointment yesterday and I've posted a new thread in the surgery forum. I'm not planning on anymore ESI's, the Medrol dosepak was kind of an emergent attempt to halt any further nerve progression. My numb areas have now started to burn...saw the PM doc, starting Neurontin. :|
  • It didn't work for me at all, but then, neither did two ESIs. Had to get the pressure off the nerve before I had relief.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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