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Lumbar spinal injection horror story. Don't read if you are scheduled for it.

Hunt0991HHunt0991 Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Spinal Injections
I read other's posts and was so looking forward to my first lumbar STERIOD INJECTION for stenosis.
I don't know what went wrong, as was told I'd feel a couple of bee stings, then maybe some pressure.
I have a new scale for pain now, and on a scale of 1-10. It was a 15. The most excruciating pain I've ever experienced. I passed out from it, and my blood pressure dropped to 78 /52. They had to give me oxygen, smelling salts, wet towels, etc.
They will NEVER do that to me again. Intensely painful and a nightmare!

I will say my back, hip and buttock pain has dropped by 50% this morning, but I'm still tramatized and weepy from my horrible experience yesterday.
I won't do it again without some kind of sedation. If you do. Just make sure the "assembly line" (ortho pain clinic does 30-40 of them each day) can stop if you are not numb.

Has anyone else had such a negative experience??
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Comments

  • I got the injections but it was in my neck, with all the stories I have read I am glad that I have no feeling back there anymore. My nerves were severed when I was hit so my nerves don't function like they should anymore. Again I am sorry for u having to go thru all that pain just for a 50% reduction in the pain u went in for. Best wishes with u
  • I'm having one this coming Friday and I keep having this thought that I should cancel. My ortho although went on and on and on and on about how I should at least 'try' because it 'might' help some and give me more time before I need surgery. Even though I've made a point of saying that because my back is messed up due to a bad auto accident, I just want it over with as much as it can be, don't want it stretched out. My husband has had back probs for years and the epidurals didn't help more than a few days or a week and he had a lot more pain after. They are supposed to anesthesize me BUT I'm worried about the pain being worse for the first week and I can't afford to miss more time from work. I have herniated disk L4-5, and bulging L2 down to L4 and stenosis and bone spurs. The ortho surgeon says he would trim the discs and probably use some rods and screws. Is it really worth going through the expense and pain of this epidural - that I feel is just a way for the ortho to make more money and to keep me on as a patient that much longer? Who's had them and for what condition and what were the results?

    (I told my doc no way was anybody sticking a needle where it hurts while I'm awake, he agreed pretty easily on that - but they make even more money using anesthesia so why wouldn't they agree?)
    I am who I am!
  • I forgot to say that I have nerve damage in my right leg and foot which they tell me may be permanent and is due to there not being any room in the nerve root space. I asked if the epidural would help that if it's not permanent and would the epidural prevent more nerve damage. I was told NO and NO. That this was just for possible pain relief. I'm scared that even if I do have relief (and I have a funny feeling I'm going to have worse pain than I can imagine) that I'll end up with more nerve damage as time goes on.

    Oh - my ortho is a very good doc and surgeon but has NO bedside manner - even his staff agrees with that. So no, there is no, sit down and go have a talk with him about how I feel about things. He'll just tell me how important he is and how lucky I am for him to see me (excuse me, he's getting PAID for the priviledge of seeing me - I picked him). I'm nervous, dismayed and sick to my stomach thinking about all this!

    Help!
    I am who I am!
  • It is funny that some of the best doc don't have good bedside manners I am sorry you are in this predicament why don't you speak to some other doc and hear what he says
  • It's so hard here to find one that will do something. And like a lot of practices, when you're in with one, you can't switch to another one. I'll put up with his rudeness, I know he is a very, very, very good surgeon. But I really don't want the epidural first. I want to 'close the book' on this and even he says it's just a slim chance that it will help - but thinks I should give it a try. Of course, he's not middle class and doesn't have to worry about co-pays on a $4000 procedure that probably won't work and won't help the nerve damage I already have. I'm really torn this evening about whether or not to cancel the epidural and just go ahead and schedule the surgery. Tried to clean house a little and I'm miserable - that doesn't help!
    I am who I am!
  • I've had lumbar and cervical injections. For cervical I've had them with being slightly knocked out, with local and with no anastesia. The one with out was painful but not to the excrutiating level.
    For lumbar I have always had a mild anastetic (happy juice) and local. I would never let a lumbar injection without something.
    I get real good pain relief from lumbar and only mild relief from cervical.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Davrunner well I'm glad to know now of 2 people that have had pain relief, but I know of several who haven't and one made my husband much worse. The problem I have with doing it is that it will not help the nerve damage I already have and it won't prevent more of it, per my doc. Some of the nerve damage may already be permanent. So I want to prevent it if it isn't permanent and prevent further nerve damage.
    I am who I am!
  • My OS said that due to the success of the lumbar injections that if they stop working he is certain fusion surgery will relieve the pain.
    In my neck I have permanent nerve damage that cause my left upper back muscles to be in constant contraction/spasm and at times horrible pain. The cervicle blocks havn't helped and I'm currently going through a series to determine what relief I might get from fusion c4-7. I have accepted that if I proceed with surgery it will be to stop further damage and not to stop pain.
    I wish you the best and hope you can get some relief.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Well I'm barefoot and my bathroom has ceramic tile floors. The AC is on so the floor is cold. I can feel the cold with my left foot but not my right foot. It's not exactly numb, feels like part of it are. Anybody have this happen?

    Davrunner, my husband has had 2 separate cervical fusions and rarely has any neck pain. They told him it would help him regain strength in his arm but not necessarily relieve the pain, but it did. He also had bone spurs removed from his neck at the same time.
    I am who I am!
  • So if you've read my posts under other topics you know I had bilateral lumbar epidural steroid injections Thursday. Woke up Friday feeling soooooooo much better. Yesterday still better but the 'better' started waning. Burning pain started in my legs and while I was standing straight, able to walk straight and faster, now today, I can't straighten up again and can't walk any faster than I could pre-epidural. The doc told me not to expect improvement until today and max improvement would be at the one week mark.
    I thought I read somewhere that sometimes if you feel relief really fast it doesn't last? Does anyone know anything about that? Has anyone had this experience and if so did anybody go back to feeling better after a couple days? (I'm praying this doesn't mean my relief is over and that it didn't work - I've done a complete 180 - rather do this than surgery if only it will work).
    I haven't done anything I was told not to and have done everything I was told to do. Hubby took me grocery shopping Friday afternoon and I just walked and put stuff in the cart and then - not carried groceries upstairs (except for bread - very light) but helped to put them away. Yesterday did some very very light housework for maybe 1/2 hour. Later we went out and walked around for about 10-15 min each in 2 stores - so I'm walking but nothing strenuous.
    I want this to work so bad, but afraid I'm going back to square one and will need the surgery!
    Looking for answers, suggestions and anybody who has had these injections, tell me how it went day by day for the first week or so!
    I am who I am!
  • Since epidurals are normally a cocktail of sorts, we can all get relief at different stages. Initial relief from the short term anesthetic and then long term relief from the steroids resolving the inflammation. It takes time for inflammation to resolve, that's why most of us normally get to max relief around the two week point.

    "C"
  • chagland said:
    Since epidurals are normally a cocktail of sorts, we can all get relief at different stages. Initial relief from the short term anesthetic and then long term relief from the steroids resolving the inflammation. It takes time for inflammation to resolve, that's why most of us normally get to max relief around the two week point.

    "C"
    I'm sure it does depend on the 'cocktail' used. I'm going by what my doctor said. Had it Thursday morning, he said I probably would not feel relief (other than the temporary relief from the numbing medicine which as he said lasted several hours) until starting today and that it would be gradual and that I would be at my maximum relief that I would achieve from this epidural in ONE week. I had a bilateral epidural, by the way, don't know if that's common or not. The thing that is scaring me is that Friday I felt amazingly better - pain was down to a 2 on a 1-10 scale at worst. Yesterday it started increasing and today I'm almost and I mean very close to where I was before the epidural. I have a lot of problems with the particular disc they worked on, but also have problems with the 3 discs above it. Also have bone spurs. I was totally against this epidural and started changing my mind a few days before and became very very hopeful. Now I'm just terrified that I'm going to end up with surgery and I already know I am not a candidate for the microsurgery and it would involve 4 hours or more of surgery along with rods and screws. Back to the ice pack and meds for me today. Trying not to worry, but it is very difficult as I'm sure it is for all of us!
    I am who I am!
  • Although my husband had his series of 3 at a different facility without benefit of a recent myeleogram (neither of us can have MRIs), the one time he did get pain relief it was over at the 2 week mark. That was the first one. Second one made him feel worse. Third one, we'll never know - he had started to feel some relief a few days after the epidural and 8 days later we were in a very bad accident that messed us both up.
    I am who I am!
  • One of the hardest things about having spine or any other type of health issues, is to not let our mind get away from us and make things seem worse. We really have to learn to take it a day at a time and not focus on the "what if's". I know when I focus too much on something, I tend to feel worse and it can easily cascade into being miserable. However, if I just focus on taking it each day as it comes, I can have many many more enjoyable days and time passes far more rapidly for me. It's a bummer that time goes so slowly when we feel lousy and want to get past it, only to go by so quickly once we feel better. We really can influence our own pain each day. I hope you can find a balance that will work for you.

    "C"
  • chagland said:
    One of the hardest things about having spine or any other type of health issues, is to not let our mind get away from us and make things seem worse. We really have to learn to take it a day at a time and not focus on the "what if's". I know when I focus too much on something, I tend to feel worse and it can easily cascade into being miserable. However, if I just focus on taking it each day as it comes, I can have many many more enjoyable days and time passes far more rapidly for me. It's a bummer that time goes so slowly when we feel lousy and want to get past it, only to go by so quickly once we feel better. We really can influence our own pain each day. I hope you can find a balance that will work for you.


    "C"


    As the major (as in 90%) breadwinner of the family I have to consider what ifs. I believe in it's better to be prepared. I don't sit around going does this hurt, how much, etc. But I am journaling as I know that is helpful to me and my physician. It's not all in my mind, and I am very hopeful that this works. 50% of patients get relief I just read. Well that study doesn't say how long is considered 'getting relief'. Time really doesn't go by slowly for me - in fact time gets away from me way too quickly. I may not be able to do a lot of physical things, but I'm a political activist and have many hobbies, have my grandchildren, love to read and I just worked a 42 hour week instead of the 35 hour week I'm required to - counting my sick day for the epidural - another words I worked my regular week - so there isn't a lot of time to 'dwell' on pain and I'm plenty busy enough that I feel it when it is impossible not to. If I could control my pain, I wouldn't have any! The pain relief I had Friday wasn't all in my head - and feeling the cold bathroom floor that I couldn't feel before the epidural wasn't in my head either. Nor could I control either of those. Nor can I control the headaches the neck problems give me. The only control I have is to not do things that aggravate them and do everything I can positively to help them. I'm not one to just blindly follow one doctor's advice - I'm one for 2nd, 3rd and even 4th opinions. And I do a lot of research. If we could control things, no one would wear glasses, no one would get cancer and no one would ever have back pain. If you go through and find my posts over the last few months, you would realize that I have really done a complete 180 on the epidural vs having surgery right away, which I could have done. I'm glad you can focus on each day as it comes, but for some of us it is not that easy. There are 2 of us here that are going through this and we have to take care of each other. There is a lot of planning that goes into working around doctor's appointments and who can handle what and getting help for what we can't handle. I love my job and moreover, I need it, without it, we'd be homeless and have no insurance, so just like right before I heard my email go off to tell me I had a message here, I was looking for a better neck pillow and lumbar pillows - and I do things like that trying to find ways to make it possible for the hubs and me to do what we have to, some of what we want to, and how to get it done if neither of us can. That's our reality. We have aging parents to help take care of. I don't sit and think about my pain - but it is perfectly normal to wonder what is going on when pain comes back immediately following an epidural. My pain has nothing to do with dwelling on it, my thoughts, etc - I want to be better, I'm doing everything I'm told to do and not doing anything I'm not told to do, and I'm going by what my doctor said about when I should experience what, and that may differ from every other person on this forum, what I don't know is beyond that first week, how long he expects it to last. I know I can have another one ONLY if I experience at least 50% pain relief from this one, per the doctor. Well, Friday it was so far past that so of course I'm worried to be feeling it back again. I only have so many paid days off to take care of this and as the breadwinner, that's a big concern, as is taking care of my husband and his aging parents and spending quality time with my grown children and grandchildren.

    Sometimes answers are born to the questions of what ifs.....
    I am who I am!
  • Just dropping in to say a lot of what doctors do is dictated by insurance. My insurance wouldn't pay for the surgery until I had PT and ESI's. I had to have 3 before they considered them failed. My doctor moved quickly through them to get me to surgery. The PT was basically them doing electrostim and ultrasound trying to help the pain. We never even made it to the abdominal strength exercises. Also some insurance companies require a 6 month to 1 year course of conservative treatment. I would say if they agree to sedate you just do it. I've only had one that effected me the next day.
  • Hi lilac100 - oh boy was I ever sedated! I rolled myself over to the table where they did the epi, was told to take a few deep breaths and the next thing I knew I was back in the room where they took me from in my bed and on my back - never knew a thing and that's the only way I'll ever do it! My insurance won't make me do that, but I know that a lot do. My doctor did give me the choice of skipping the epi or having the surgery and I could go tomorrow and say - do the surgery, but he convinced me (along with my hubby and a lot of loving family members) to just give it a try. This morning so far (this is day 5 counting the day of the epi) and after a pretty active evening yesterday with 3 grandchildren 2 and under, I'm feeling remarkably good as far as my back and legs - again! So I'm hopeful. Now I want to study and research the long term effects - both good and bad. I have a lot of hip pain so I worry about the hip arthritis the steroids can cause. And I need help with my neck but I have no herniated discs there, soooooo now I want to know if I continue with the lumbar ones, will the doc let me get them in my neck 3 times a year too - and if so, what risks are involved. So that's my new quest, and since this has been an up and down ride on this epidural, I'm hopeful that I won't need lumbar surgery, but won't be making a decision for a few weeks. I would love to have no more pain than I have right now in my back and legs (at a 2-3 on the pain level scale) for the rest of my life and if I could have that for my neck, shoulder and back of my head - I'd be in heaven!

    My hubby has had 3, and the first one gave him almost 2 weeks of partial relief, 2nd one made him feel worse, 3rd one he was starting to feel some relief, but 8 days later we were in a very bad car accident. He goes tomorrow to find out what his myelogram shows and to find out what the doctor can do for him surgically. He was supposed to have the minimally invasive lumbar surgery 3 years ago, after a 6 month recuperation from his 2nd neck surgery (2nd one he had 2 discs replaced with hardware) but his doctor moved to another state and the rest is a long, frustrating story. But after years of suffering, the auto accident rewarded him with even more pain, so I'm hoping he can still have the minimally invasive procedure and soon! It seems like a compounded problem with us both having problems. Oh and he never did PT, he did about 8 years ago, only to feel worse so he's refused it ever since. I had PT - went 3 times and everytime I left more miserable and with a severe migraine - why don't PT therapists understand what positions NOT to put a migraine patient in and what kind of lights bring on a migraine? I don't know - I will go for PT for a short time if I have surgery, but they can teach me to do and sell me what I need to do it at home, and same for the hubs!

    Glad to meet you and I wish you luck - this kind of pain is not for wimps - I've said childbirth with nothing for pain was easier than this - and I mean it! :)
    I am who I am!
  • Man I will take a discogram at every level no sedation for 50% reduction of pain. I know it was scary, but 50% reduction wow. Id take just about any short term horibble pain if I got that. Hoping you dont go through all that and get that much relief.
    Herniated T6-7, multiple herniations in cervical, tears in T5-T8. Stenois at levels and smorls nodes from thoracic thru lumbar
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