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Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

Okay, thought I'd start my own thread so that I am on 'my own topic.'

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 1994 I have had so many epidurals I have lost count. Mine have been done cervically, thoracically and lumbar. I even had numerous in the back of my skull. Dr is correct when he says it can take upwards of a week to notice a difference. It's also not unusual to feel worse the day or two after the injection. You have to realize that the epidurals are not an exact science. I have had a few that didn't seem to work but than I have had many that have. Sometimes anywhere from one month to two or even three. My doctor will do a second injection even a month later if the first didn't work. He will do only 3 in a 12 month period so I have come to hold off on getting them till I can't take the pain anymore without some relief. So don't give up if one doesn't seem to help. My most recent one was in my lumbar, bilaterally, for severe nerve pain in my legs. I couldn't even stand for clothing to touch me. I am into my second month with no nerve pain at all.I will tell you this, epidurals are not the most comfortable to have done. But, if I have to have any, I can tolerate the lumbar ones much better than the thoracic ones but that is just my opinion.Good luck in whatever you decide. If you need to pm me that's fine. I'm a veteran at this stuff.
  • But did you have a day or 2 of a lot of pain relief and then it went away - to come back again? I'm hoping my pain relief will come back but I don't know - there is a lot going on in my lumbar spine. My t-spine - I have a couple of discs that partially fused on their own. Cervical - 2 bulging discs, some spurs and occipital nerve inflammation that causes almost constant headaches that turn into migraines. But the back and leg pain have been the most debilitating.

    Are you on FB by the way? There is a new group for people like us and it needs a veteran!
    I am who I am!
  • This is how I react: I receive epidural in whichever area I need it the most. A couple times I had 2 at the same time, lumbar and thoracic. For first couple days I actually feel worse. The medicine doesn't have anywhere to go so I causes more pain till it is absorbed into the body. Then USUALLY I begin to feel a bit better. They can take up to 1-2 weeks before I begin to feel the full effects, if it's gonna work. Then it can last anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months. Then pain will gradually come back. I must say I have not experienced what you have but I have to come to know that epidurals can occasionally be unpredictable, so I am not surprised at your reaction. Most doctors I have seen will tell you what to expect based on their experience. These injections are not an exact science. The success is based on where they gave you the injection and if they are able to hit the exact nerve that they are aiming for. I have had some that worked not so good (didn't relieve pain so good or it just didn't last so long). If you are concerned, I would strongly suggest you go back to the dr. Because, frankly, it doesn't sound like you are getting the normal response. I just had one in lumbar cause of severe nerve pain (stenosis) down both legs. I had mine on April 4 and I'm still doing great. So obviously they hit the right nerve. Also, this is the only dr that I've had that uses flouroscope to help guide him. Then he injects a tracer to be sure it's going where he wants to. If so then he gives me the steroids. I hope this answers your question. I am a strong believer in going back to a dr if I'm at all concerned or have questions. Please keep me posted on your progress and feel free to contact me if I can be of any help.

    I don't know what FB is but it sounds like something I might like.
  • Wow I begged for one in my neck at the same time. They said I could only have one at a time - pick what hurts the most. Back and legs won that one, but neck was right there at a very close second. Well, this morning I've just gotten up but I think I'm feeling better, but depending on how I sleep first thing in the morning is usually my best time, for about 45 min or so - but I noticed I'm standing and walking straight instead of bent over - all that after we had the kids and grandkids over for a cookout. The grandkids are 2, 17 mos and 10 mos so you can imagine!

    FB = Facebook. There is a new group there for people with back, neck and migraine problems, just got started. Let me know if you join FB and I can send you the link to the group.
    I am who I am!
  • I have recently told you how wonderful my injections have been. I just got my 5th one yesterday and I'm still waiting for it to "kick in". I usually have some type of relief by now and by the 3rd day I walk without pain. I'm thinking that maybe I had to much inflamation this time so it will take longer to work. I'm suppose to have surgery in June and was hopeful because the injections work so well. Now I'm nervous it won't work. I hope that you have relief again from yours. When are you scheduled for your next one. I know in the begining they like to do them 2 weeks apart.
  • I'm not scheduled for another one. I can call the doctor Monday and tell him whether I want another one or if I just want to go on and have the surgery. If I do decide to have another one, and I'm very undecided right now, I'm hoping I can have it next Friday, which would be close to 2 weeks. Hubby is having one this Friday. Medical bills and time off is killer - he says unless his works great, he'll go on with surgery too. So we'll see. I also need help with my neck/shoulder and head so part of my thinking is well, if I get the back over with, then they can work on that.
    I am who I am!
  • I just got a call from the doctors office and my surgery is June 20th. I told the lady I was so nervous and she said the doctor could do this in his sleep. She said it is the "easiest" surgery he does. I just hope it works and I don't end up worse.
  • Ha! I don't know if I'd want to hear he can do it in his sleep because knowing me, I'd say - does he ever do this in his sleep?? LOL. What is he going to do? I'm not so scared of 'having' the surgery - just worried how painful the recovery might be.
    I am who I am!
  • It will be a discectomy. He told me that it's very painful and I will need pain meds for a week. After reading posts from different people, I realized that everybody is different because I hear that it's not bad and then I hear people say they are screaming out in pain. I am going to expect the worst. He said some people are driving in a week if they are comfortable sitting and some go back to work in 3 weeks. I have my mom flying in for 4 weeks to help me because I am not going to overdo it. I have a 10 and 7 year old. My daughter has summer school for reading so I need somebody to get her on the bus. I'm going to send you a pm about FB.
  • Yeah I've heard a disectomy isn't so bad, so I don't know. With my sister in law they 'cleaned out' the bad spot so I'm thinking they trimmed the disc (what he said he would do with my discs) and cleaned out any bone spurs or whatever was pinching on the nerves. She was in a lot of pain at first but I think it was manageable and I think she was back to work in about 3 weeks. Our doctor keeps saying surgery won't help back pain, just leg pain. Well that's what the surgeon said on hubby's neck surgery and he had a fusion and then a few years later disc replacement - he had arm pain and for the first one, he had lost most the strength in his arm. It did get rid of his neck pain and yes, he does have occasional bouts of it, but it goes away. My SIL, the back pain was gone first and then after a bit the leg pain was gone. Did they tell you it would help your back and leg pain? I want all the pain gone!

    Can't imagine doing the surgery with little ones around without help. We're trying to figure out if we have surgery how we'll space it out so we can help each other, and we don't have young children - all grown and on their own and we have grandkids. But I can just imagine for you, b/c I worry how we will do the things we need to do around the house - but at this point we just can't do all we need to do anyway.
    I am who I am!
  • Injections seemed to be a quick fixed at first but always failed. The more injections i would have the less time the affects would last until they didn't work at all ...not even for a day. Now i have had facets injection, injection in the spinal canal, injections in between the lumbar, some other place i cant remember and all the areas at the same time. They have injected steroids and even some kind of new stuff that is suppose to be lizard poison. I can't remember the name of it , but like always i did my research on it. It sounded good on paper and it was new kinda of medical break through..but didn't help me any. I have had a disectomy,L3-L5S1 fusion, re-fusion and Laminectomy (both re-fusion and Laminectomy were done in same surgery) spinal cord stimulator and finally a pain pump. Like i tell everyone my cases were the worst case situation. Everything that could have gone wrong did. In addition the decision to have surgery was put off for too long and cause my injury to get worst. I was like trying to but a band-aid on a ripped off limb. I have 4 kids and a wife so i can understand your thoughts about it affecting those around you. I will not lie and say it hasn't but we are living through it.
  • Your comments are just what I thought. I had 3 sets of facet joint injections 5 years ago, but I don't know if my back got somewhat worse in the meantime (only had short bouts of pain in my back and leg until this feb) but now instead of one bulging disc and whatever it is with the facet joint, all but one L disc is bulging, one is herniated, I now have bone spurs - and we were in a bad car accident in Feb - that's when the back pain came on with a vengeance. I know the wreck didn't cause the bone spurs. Like I said, my husband has went through epidurals and now can't have the simpler surgery he could have had 3 years ago - although he's begged for it, and the doctor we have now will do it, although he's pushed for one more epidural for him (because no one else did a myelogram before doing those epi's last year so it was like a stab in the dark)

    I think 3 months of getting worse is long enough to know I'm not just going to get over this. I'm almost 100% sure that come Monday (if not tomorrow) I'm calling my doctor and saying I want surgery.

    I know it's going to be hard with the both of us having surgery almost at the same time, but I suppose we will manage it somehow. We both just want to feel better - and I still need to have them figure out how to help with my neck/shoulder pain that results in back of the head headaches which turn into migraines every single day of my life since Feb 23.

    Epi's might work for my neck - there are 2 bulging discs and some bone spurs but its' not in as bad of shape as my lumbar spine. I'd also be willing to do an occipital nerve ablation if we can determine that's what is causing this pain and most likely it is. My daughter had that done about a month ago with very good results.
    I am who I am!
  • Eric are you on fb? I have a group that is brand new for all of us to discuss back, neck, etc issues. I'll pm you the link and the link to my profile if you want to be friends on FB and or join the group. :) If anybody else wants it, let me know.
    I am who I am!
  • that may be a little much if you ask me. You will need someone to support both of you as you both will need assistance especially right after surgery. I am on face book as Judy Eric Thompson. You can send an invite. If possible i would suggest you space your surgeries 4-6 weeks apart from each other. Do lots of research on what type of surgery they are performing, who they are going to do the surgery, limitations, PT , recovery time, post op care, medications and most likely outcome that you and your doctor are trying to achieve.
  • Yeah, but it is hard living with the pain. Neither of us can take NSAIDS. The ortho surgeon doesn't prescribe anything until after surgery. Our family doctor says well now it's chronic pain and we'll have to stop with the pain medicine (which is mild and only takes the edge off but does make it possible to work) - chronic pain even though ever since the day after the wreck we have begged and begged for now on the 3rd doctor to do something, anything! I did have a myelogram right after. My husband just had his 2 weeks ago. We can't live like this, and I can't have pain affecting my job and the quality of it and how many reports I review - I'm the bread winner and the one who carries the health insurance. Since his is easier, I think he should go first and maybe make mine about 3 weeks later, but only if they can hurry to get us in. The first week after the wreck our concussions were so bad along with the pain, neither of us could work, that was really weird and bad. Now between tests, procedures, I've used up all my sick days for the year (first time that's happened) and I'm eating into vacation days. When they are gone, they are gone. And if I'm out for surgery - the only way I get paid the 1st 2 weeks is by taking vacation or sick days - I have enough for that and 2 days left over for the whole year. Eventually the driver at fault's insurance will have to pay me for all the time off, doctor bills, etc, but for now it's on us. It's a mess and pretty much an impossible situation. His family does all live nearby though, so I'm sure we could get someone to go get groceries, clean a little, etc.
    I am who I am!
  • Sent you a friend request - at least I hope it's the right one - there is someone just the opposite - Eric Judy Thompson! I'll pm you the link to the group on facebook.
    I am who I am!
  • Wow I guess I just thought it had all but worn off all week, and had been saying 10% relief. Then I woke up this morning. I think I'm worse now than I was before the epidural 8 days ago. So I want either the surgery or my legs cut off, really doesn't matter which! Over this pain! Holy moly - anybody feel worse a week or so after an epidural?

    I feel like I wasted time off and money x 2. Hubby took the day off to take me and then take care of me after.

    Today is what will probably be his final one. We leave in an hour. But I can come home and get him settled in and then get to work at least.

    I'm so frustrated I feel like I'm going to cry. So over this! If I could have surgery Monday I'd do it. I'd say today but today is about taking care of the hubs. Hope somehow some way this works for him, but I'm losing faith in epidurals, period. :(
    I am who I am!
  • I did get your invite and thank you. My injections after while started to wear off in about a week and or never did anything. (remember i have had about 12 injections). It was just as you are describing it..woke up in the morning and POW!!! I can understand you feeling the need to cry and I have done it several times.
    For me the first couple of surgeries werent that good. Pain gotten better but was still in a lot of pain. I hope that you have much success and pain relief during your surgery.
    Stay strong and believe me i know how much of a challenge that is day after day in pain. Remember this that our mental state will cause our pain to be worst.
  • He did call me in a new script, it's just a higher dose of what I did have, so I didn't think it would help much. But it is, doesn't take it all away but it is tolerable now. I think I went from a 10+ on the pain scale to a 5 or 6. I'm hoping surgery will go well. I know it's a big one, takes 5 or so hours and I have to stay in the hospital 3-4 days. I'm going Friday morning (a week from now) so I can talk to him about it. I'm the type that needs to know every detail and I'm going to compile a list of questions. If anyone cares to help me with that list, I'd love it!
    I am who I am!
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