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Injections causing more pain then I can stand

I gave epidural steroid injections another try this week after having sworn off any type of injection ever again. The pain from the actual injection was enough that I almost had to stop him and abandon ship. My injections last two weeks and then I have to go back and get more. I don't know that I can handle more. I screamed and was all sweaty. That was yesterday and today the injections are still hurting me. Is this normal for injections? I have had seven and they all hurt quite a bit. Other people tell me they don't have a problem. I don't know if that is because I have nerve damage or what. No amount of numbing medication seemed to touch me. I'm scared to do it again.


  • Lower back is harder than the neck. Can vary by the the doctor's technique, experience and just his care for the patient. I have had seven also, 3 by one dr., 4 by another. The one doc could do it without anything but spray on numbing and cause no more discomfort than a 3 level. The other gave skin and injected numbing and always caused 5-6 level discomfort. Tell the doc in advance what your pain experience has been. IV Valium should help, if no IV setup, ask for 10 mg of valium 30 minutes before procedure. They should be willing to do this. Anxiety and resulting muscle tension can certainly magnify the pain. Good luck with the next one.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • I had no real pain from the injections L4 and L5.
    I agree a valium helped relax me. I have a panic attacks. And also took a atavan before the injections.

    Ask for something to help relax you before the next one.
    L4/5 herniation13mm sequestered fragment L5 root compromise.
    L3/4 annular tear.
    L2/3 3mm bulge and annular tear.
    Tens mpo combo system
    Epidural L4 L5 28Nov12 / 12Dec12 / 26Dec12. All no relief :( SO FAR
    MicroD L4 L5 May 23 2013
  • Some doctors recommend only 6 ESI's in a lifetime.

    And there is a recent post (in the last few days) on the danger of too many steroid injections. You are no doubt very aware of this risk. If not, do a search here. (Or PM me)
  • Dave, is that 6 ESIs in a year or over your lifetime because I have had 3 this yr. and dozens since I started them back in 1994 before my first back surgery. Now you have me scared.

    ESI...no...workie. I had anESI back a few months ago and it was most painful thing ever. I took Xanax 30 minutes before and never had pain like that before but he tried 4 times or at least stuck me 4 times and could not get in epidural space. It was so painful that I started sweating, my BP dropped low and I almost passed out. it was horrible. I then went one to have another one and a RFA and didnt have hardly any pain. so not sure what happened???

  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 12/06/2012 - 10:47 PM
    especially if you have a very bad back I ALWAYS INSIST ON HEAVY SEDATION .but in the hands of a poorly trained technician they will hurt you ..i had an anesthetist and she was fantastic but even she has problems getting the needle in and had to abandon the last attempt ..epidurals hurt .facet joint injections are not too bad but the one to watch is the discography they are designed to generate pain .....and they do .....big time !!
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • References

    http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/epidural-steroid-injections and
    say that it is reasonable to limit the number to 3 per year.

    Currently, reading a book (Conquer back and neck pain, by M Brown) that recommends 6 per lifetime. Not sure how practical that is, as I have had 4 this year and surgeon didn't mention any limits. Nonetheless, they should not be taken like lollies. ;)
  • I have had several ESIs, some of which were very, very painful. I have a lot of arthritis in some of the joints that were injected, and I know it has been difficult to get the needles into some of those narrow little areas. On the other hand, I have also had five rhizotomies; the first four were done under general anaesthetic, and aside from severe pain right after the surgeries, I didn't have much discomfort. In October, however, I had a fifth rhizotomy with NO anaesthetic, and that was the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with! I honestly believe the trauma of dealing with that type of pain when you are fully aware has some impact on how much discomfort there is afterwards....just my opinion. Hope you're getting some relief by now.

    I was also told that you should not have more than six steroid injections in a lifetime, but I am far beyond that at this point. I made a decision a long time ago that I want QUALITY of life, not QUANTITY.... :wink:" alt=":wink:" height="20" />

  • My first ESI was excruciating -- I'm allergic to versed, the stuff they usually give you to semi-sedate you before these injections. The doc told me he was giving me something else, but I don't think he gave me a thing. I screamed my fool head off, it was so painful. I would not go back again. Several months later, my doctor convinced me to go see someone different. I explained what had happened, and this guy couldn't have been nicer. I had great sedation, he was so gentle and talked me all the way through it, the staff (nurses, etc) in the room were all jovial and we actually had a really good time! I went back for two more injections after that. Wish they would have helped more, but they didn't and I ended up with my fusion. There are good doctors out there. Some of them I think just like to torture people!
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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