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injections good bad or neither

terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Pain Management
a lot of conversation has been made with respect to injections. A lot of people say they will refuse them, they don't work, too much pain, etc. well injections are valuable for a reason. they are not just for pain reduction. injections help the doctor locate the precise postition of your back pain. by injecting one area, he can tell if this is the correct place to treat if it alleviates your pain. if it does not, then he will try another area until he finds the right area. this is a common albeit problamatical practice by pain drs. injections are tools to help locate our specific pain location. by finding this he can treat the specific area by giving more injections, knowing where to place morphine pumps, or other pain pumps. for the most part, my back is so screwed up that they don't work for me. when they do it is temporary but i am willing to have my dr use them as a tool. unfortunately a lot of drs in california won't carry blue cross insurance for a variety of reasons. i have blue cross, so i will have to pay some out of pocket for injections and i can't afford that now. if i could afford them, i would have them to see if they help and to see if he can locate my pain position. they are not that bad, a little painful, but tolerable . if you can give them a chance especially if nothing else has helped, ie meds, etc
I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.


  • I think they definitely have their place, just like the other elements of pain management. Some people find them to be very helpful, and of course they can help pinpoint problems, as you mentioned. Nothing that is potentially beneficial should be ignored, in my opinion, whether it's injections, medication, massage, physiotherapy, TENS, acupuncture... different things work for different patients, and it's up to the doctor and patient to work together to find the right balance, I think.
  • I've had great luck with injections! I know they don't help all people, but I'd definitely recommend them to anyone whose doctor says they are an option.

    I have gotten probably 20% reduction in pain from the injections. Considering that I already got about 30% reduction last October from starting Lyrica, that's a really significant change for me in the last several months, from an average pain rating of 5-6 to an average pain rating of 3-5 (I dunno, makes a big difference and I'm a lot less miserable!).

    Yes, they hurt at the time, and the last one really aggravated my condition for about 2-3 days. But even my 12 year old daughter said "isn't a couple days of pain worth it if you get 6 months or more of feeling better?"
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,870
    First, my thanks to the way you posted.

    Injections are something that has received a lot of negative press on this site. For some, that is what happened to them.

    But as Jon pointed out, injections are used for many reasons. They are a professional instrument in helping to identify a problem.

    In many ways, doctors are detectives. They are always looking for clues that will help them resolve the case.
    The more information and clues that are provided, the easier it should be in finding the problem.

    So, we have so many "I had an ESI, it didnt work",
    " I had a ESI and now I feel much worse" and
    "I had an ESI and I can see some pain relief"

    All of those are valid. Spinal injections, specifically the ESIs are a valuable tool. It can provide relief to the patient and it can also provide information to the doctor so that the problem can be identified and the proper treatment is given.

    Jon, thanks again for a brilliant post.

    The one other member I always look to for sound and rationale posts is JOHN. He has a way with words that just make you want to understand.
    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
  • I had lumbar injections, increased my pain, didn't work at all....considered it a complete waste of time. Cervical injections worked great, lasted awhile, counting down the days until my next one. I can only have 4 a year according to my doc. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's worth a try, otherwise you will always wonder "could this have helped my pain."
  • Great post!

    I encourage anyone who has been offered injections as a means of pain control, to give them a try.

    It was discovered in January that my tailbone was fractured and dislocated during my fall. I started noticing pain in my tailbone last August and it progressively got worse. X-rays and a CT scan confirmed these fractures and I was sent to an Orthopedic Surgeon for a consultation. Surgery for my coccyx has been ruled out, but this doctor shared the positive results his patients receive with nerve blocks and injections for chronic fractures to the tailbone.

    Last Wednesday, I had my first set of nerve blocks and injections for my coccyx pain and I felt immediate relief. I no longer have ANY coccyx pain, radiating hip pain or pain in my upper thighs.

    I am so relieved to know that I will have ongoing pain control for these chronic fractures! It's absolutely amazing!

    Thanks for starting this thread... it's a goody!

    Take good care,

    Tammy :)

  • Jon,
    One cannot speak too highly when injections work and too lowly when they do not, evidence here suggests a vary degree of success, as you said, sometimes they are a necessary progression of treatments and one would expect them to have immediate impact, the longevity of that relief varies for every individual.

    Any process that provides some relief has to be evaluated along the risk benefit analysis. Regret is in not having tried, many patients want permanent and timely improvement. A “multi-dimensional” approach is predicted to increase the potential for success, where injections are only one element integrated in the collective process. In divulging our experience we should not deny others some temporary pain relief, even though it may not have worked for us, success is variable. Some suggest that injections only forestall the inevitable invasive process; they cannot retrospectively repair our underlying condition.

    Injections understandably divide this community based on experience and perceptions, at best it is a tool, where any process fails to meet our expectation its usage should be questioned.

    For me injections were a progressive strategy from one stage to another, medical evidence suggested this was an option for me, a proportionate intervention, they mask the excruciating peaks, where any respite was appreciated. Time determines success; we are suggesting options and possible solutions, that leap of faith is always hard.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of patients where injection and epidurals did not work, then go on to have invasive surgery.

    Take care and good luck

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    They gave me much needed relief, and did forestall the inevitable (in my particular case) But that gave me a good 4 years to save, pay in to my retirement, and prepare for the worst, (if it was to happen)
    I had a friend who was able to get by for many more years than I. I do have "white coat syndrome" And I can tell you that for me and my friend, they weren't that painful.
    Nothing ventured-nothing gained!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I know of 2 folks who have had one injection and then never had the pain return. I agree, they are worth a try.

    Personally, I loved the steroid injections. My Dr. would let me have 6 a year. After 2 Laminectomies to L4/5 I was determined to avoid a fusion. I had heard horror stories from all the PT therapists about avoiding a fusion at all costs. I would have my injections 3 at a time banked at one week intervals. After the 3rd I would be totally pain free and continue to abuse my back. I would garden for hours, paint a bedroom, dig holes and plant trees, move furniture, etc for as long as the shots lasted. I remember asking the Dr. at the Imaging Clinic who administered the shots “Who needs surgery, can’t I just come in here 6 times a year?” His response “Sure, but you will eventually have no bones left and you will weigh 400 lbs.”

    The injections were intended for me to get out of pain long enough to work on the core muscles to help support my spine. I hate to admit it, but I just kept abusing my body as I always had. My Surgeon finally said “no more.” I felt like a junky. I remember asking him to please just let me have a few more in order for me to get to my son’s wedding in TX.

    I had the fusion a few months later. If they give you pain relief, they are great. You just have to use them as they were intended.
  • my problem with injections is not being able to get them on a regular basis. A lot of you guys are USA based and the system is so different in the UK. My GP (general practitioner / family Dr) is the one that issues my medication, she is great, i've just seen her this morning and we have altered things and she knows that I research things and I can have some input into the drugs and dosages and she know that I am sensible when I alter things to a tiny degree once I am used to them to get the best effect. For anything lese I am under a pain clinic based 45km form where i live and I have to drive there myself!! there are two pain specialists to cover up to 3-4,000 patients covering my area. I have 10 FJI's (5 per side)ganglion nerve blocks and usually a ESI in the same treatment. I should be able to ahve these 4 times a year but because these guys are so over streched i usually only get them twice in a year!!!! I had this done 6 months ago and don't currently have an appointment for a repeat treatment!!! my GP is chasing them for me. My injections can take upto 7 days to fully kick in and in the meantime the pain can intensify. Once working my pain can be reduced by as much as 80% and I can then reduce my medication quite dramactically!! usualy by 60% once by 100% for 10 days which was fabulous!!!! Once working for me they last betwee 4 & 10 weeks, not as long as some people beenfit from but to me this is bliss, everything else is back in perspective again!!! I just wish there was something more permenant out there!!
  • I have never refused injections. If there was a way to get relief instead of surgery, you can bet I did it. Some have been more painful than others. I prefer mild sedation with mine, but I have done them without. As a matter of fact, I am having trigger pt injections next week. I am hoping they help!!!

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