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To many injections

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Spinal Injections
Hi I havent been on for awhile, I have had 8 epidurals in less than a year they help but dont last very long I have gained a ton of weight and my belly stays so bloated I know this cant be good, I dont know what else to do .When the injection wears off it is pain from hell but if I keep gaining weight like this my back is going to have way to much pressure..Has anyone else gained weight from the injections?


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I also have endured way too many injections. I switched pain clinics recently because my previous pain doctor thought i was a human pin cushion. I had 13 injections in 8 months. My skin has now become thin and I have bruises all over my body. I look like someone has beat the crap out me all the time. My pcp is so concerned about it he is sending me to a hematologist. I have been fortunate that Ive only gained about 5 lbs. But from what Ive been told both of us have had more then should be given. Unfortunatley the injections are only a short term fix.
    Have you spoke to your pain doc about so many injections? I personally told them no more!'
  • I've only had 3 out of 6 so far this year and gained just 5lbs so far. I hope things settle down for you. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I have talked to him about and he never seems to have any other solutions, I recently went outside the box and went to another state to see a very well named surgeon, he suggest I have the nerve ablation and I think he might be right because thats to many steroids and side effects..I dont want anymore but when they wear off I know the pain is comming back strong so its partly my fault for asking for more..Does the battle ever stop..Yikes
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
    I know for a fact that 4 or 5 of the major medical insurance provides will only allow 3 Epidural's a year.

    So, I do have to assume that there are other insurance companies that do not put a limit on ESIs.
    But from a medical point of view, too many steroid
    injections in one year is not favorable. Besides,
    my ESI's, with my shoulder problems over the past 3 years, my doctors would only allow 2 Steroid injections into my shoulder per year. Why the injections may help, the downside of impacts from
    steroids increases.

    There generally is no limit on many other of the spinal type injections.

    Spinal Injections

    The pain management doctor that did all of my ESI's over a 3 year span, always stated that more than 4 ESI's in a year is overkill. The ESI takes time to provide some relief. Results will vary from people to people and also in spinal areas.

    Too many ESI's in one year is akin to going fishing, dropping a line in waiting for a bite. If you dont get a bite, you throw out another line, another line and another line to see if you can catch a fish. Waiting for that first one might just have been the best route to take
    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'm afraid I'm getting too many injections. I go for my 4th epidural in 2 weeks and really don't want to get 3 more I've already had 3 but hear she usually gives 6 to everyone the first year if they're still having pain after the 3 injections.

    Carmels-Did you get relief after your first 3 injections? Did you have more relief from the other injections? or just temporary relief? Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Carmela, this is completely off topic but I was reading the thread and just had to say your horse is so cute :)

    As far as the bloating and weight gain, just remember that while some of it is probably true weight gain steroids can also cause water retention. I don't know how far out you are from the injections, but steroids do hang around in the body awhile. Hopefully some of the bloating will resolve as the steroid works its way out of you...
  • My doctor did 3 and said no more for me. I am so surprised that yours are doing so many! I don't know if it is an insurance limitation or not.
  • I've gained weight...don't know if it's from inactivity or the epidurals.

  • I like to call Epidurals my fat shots.
    I was doing so well with my weight loss 43 lbs to be exact. Until I got my last fat shot.
    With every fat shot it seems as though I gain 10lbs.
    Which is not good seeing I have had two fat shots in the last 2 months. :(
    I guess I rather be fat in some what bearable pain .Then slim and stuck in the house in uncontrollable pain.
    Hope you find some way to help out with your pain.
  • I didn't gain any weight with 4 ESIs. Initially, my pain doctors recommended that I can only get 3 shots in 6 months. However, I did get a fourth injections because I was in so much pain. I think my insurance would have paid for additional shots but my pain doctors recommended surgery after thelast injection. They concluded that the ESIs were unsuccessful and wouldn't administer anymore.

  • at how many shots some of you are allowed! My doc is pretty conservative with 3 epidurals a year and I have to have them 4 months apart. I gave up on the epidurals last year and now get trigger point injections which seem to help me more in the cervical area....nothing helps with lumbar....only makes the pain worse. He will allow me to have 4 of the trigger points a year, every 3 months.

    Same with prednisone meds...only 2 or 3 weeks at the most. Those pills make me feel wonderful like I can do back flips or run marathons. Why is it that a lot of stuff that really takes the pain down to a low roar has too many side effects.

    Massage and acupuncture help tremendously too, but without insurance covering these, I'm limited to just a few here and there when I get some extra money which is next to never.:-(
  • I see this all too often on here. People getting many injections. People repeating this process several times. Honestly I don't get it. Even if you are inoperable.

    You're just loading your body down with more steroids. Whether they use a cortisone, kenelog, or some other cocktail. It is still loaded with steroids. Does anyone still not understand the long term affects of steroids? IF not go read up on it. For long term chronic patients even they should not be doing that many.

    I was told 3 in 1 year was enough. Not to mention after the 2nd one if you feel no relief or worse then stop.
    I'd be concerned that you are not addressing solving your problem with steroids. Just masking them. As part of the process of helping resolve your problem. You try ESI injections through 1 regimen then evaluate. If they don't work you need to consider the next level. More invasive, but more focused on solving the problem long term. If you have already tried ESI before then what is the point of repeating it?

    I'm sure I'm taking a simplistic view here. But I went through the whole diagnostic process before agreeing to surgery. ESI was one part of it and it didn't work. Move on.

    We used ESI shots as a stop gap on my mom. She needed hip surgery, but could not at the time. We had to wait a few months due to other issues. So to help with her arthritic pain she was given 2 shots total a few months apart. Her surgeon said that was more than enough. Anything further was just dumping chemicals in her that he was not comfortable with.

    I've had 3 surgeons that I have dealt with talk about steroids along with my primary and a PM doc I saw. They all agreed on steroids. You use them sparingly and if no real relief of pain or improvement occurs then stop. They also agreed that for most people these ESI shots are just delaying the inevitable.

    Good luck. I would not agree to 6 or more shots in a year. I would seriously question my surgeon or PM docs motives and want another opinion.

  • Graham I have a question that I haven't been able to find an answer to. But you seem to have done alot of research on this so here goes -- If you have one type of injection like trigger point and it doesnt work is another type of injection like a facet joint injection less likely to work? Or is there no relationship?

    I ask because as you point out above doctors tend to push injections for various reasons (we can save that discussion for a martini or two). I'm wondering if you need to try different injection types/locations or if you can say at some point that your body doesn't respond to the steroids.

    I really appreciate your thoughts since I know I will have to make a decision on more injections in the next week or so.
  • Kris,

    Trigger point I look at as the massage version for muscles. Where they work on your trigger points. I've had it done. You most certainly know it when they do it. But it is supposed to cause release in the muscle. It is draining to have that kind of massage. Trigger point injections as I understand them are also aimed at muscles. I believe the exception is Fibromyalgia. I don't really understand that disease too well.

    Epidurals or ESI are real shots. I've had 3. I have never had facet or other joints. The 1st ESI was done by a PM doc and he decided to go almost right into my spine like they do for a myelogram. Boy did that hurt. He also gave me a dural leak. Fortunately it healed up after a few weeks. So no blood patch. That lasted me about 3-4 months.

    Then I went to an ortho surgeon. He gave me 2 ESI shots under flouroscopy at his office. Tried 1 off to the side but bathing the disc. Then the 2nd 2 weeks later. I actually felt worse. He said we could try a different location but he felt it was going to be a waste of time in my case. There is a lot more to this story but I'm leaving the rest out. Just to focus on shots and steroids.

    So if you have surgeon or doctor who wants to do more or in a different location. I would want to discuss that a bit more if it meant we were talking more than 3 shots in a year. Yes you can do them. But understand it has bad issues with bones. Especially in women, Kris ;-)

    Read up on some of the studies on corticosteroids. There is Cortisone which many get an injection for allergies. I've had one. My GP said once a year, twice at most. I only did it one year before sinus surgery.

    Then there is the oral Medrol/Prednisone. These are short term, quick release. Some docs like the Medrol dose pack because it is hard for a patient to mess up. Others just get you 20 or so Prednisone. It's the 5-4-3-2-1 dose down. Again, those shouldn't be taken a lot. Same issues.

    Then there is the ESI shots, regardless of where they stick the needle. That steroid is Kenalog or an equivalent. This is a lot stronger than Prednisone. It is called a depot drug. It is long term, slow release. That's why, if it works, it works for a while. It takes longer to dissolve in your body. If I remember right right these injections are also cumulative. So 3 injections in a short period of time is a strong dose.

    Also the orthopedic that gave me the ESI shots. He told me that the Kenalog has another equivalent generic. It's a lot cheaper to buy. Some docs use it to increase their profits. I can't remember its name. He told me that has a lot more side affects. He refused to use it. Kenalog is a brand name and there are other good ones. But one or more of its generic equivalents is not so good. One of those times where the generic is a bad idea.

    Me personally. If it meant avoiding a major surgery for at least 6-12 months I think I would do another. Just to hold out a bit longer for a better breakthrough in technology. But I would not expect an ESI to fix me unless I had a small herniation. Then I believe there is a chance. Issues beyond that I have no faith in chemicals fixing. Time to get out the nuts and bolts. ;-)

    That is about all I remember. It maybe not be completely accurate, I'm not your doctor, your mileage may vary, and batteries are not included.

    Good luck.

  • The people who are doing more are doing them because they DO work, and because there aren't a lot of other options. Yes, there are side effects- but there are risks to surgery, and medications, etc etc as well. We do what we have to do.

    I go in next week for my 4th. It's been a couple of months since the other 3 and he's trying to give me some relief. I don't have a lot of options. As for why my doctor suggested it, it's because he wants me to not be in pain and steroid injects are one of the most effective methods he has. Unfortunately it's not the best for me, but I take every little bit when things are bad.
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