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need help/advice with pain post epidural lumbar steriod injection

Does anyone have any experience with epidural steroid injections? I had my first esi on Tuesday and here it is Thursday night and I'm in horrible pain. A different kind of pain and by far more painful than the pain I was having prior to injection. Any help would be appreciated


  • Im so sorry you are having such horrible pain after ESIs when they are supposed to help with pain. I have had numerous injections over past 12 yrs and can say they have all been different in how they work, the pain during and after. I know sometimes for a few days I can be uncomfortable but have never had pain worse than before. Perhaps you should give your doctor a call and let them know what pain feels like and if this is normal. Welcome to SH. Please keep in touch and let us know what the doctor says.

  • Ice might help. I had my 2nd injection Wednesday and a other 2 weeks ago. Fortunately I had no pain from the injection site.

    Try ice and see if that helps.
    Be sure to call your doctor and let them know of your pain.
    I hope you feel better soon.

    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
  • Thank you for your responses. I was able to sleep better last night, but as I make my way around my home, the pain is becoming worse and it seems to have shifted to the right side...my low back, buttocks, and legs all hurt in a burning, sore, and I can tell I'm somewhat swollen in these areas too.I have a feeling that there may be too much fluid in the episode space and I think a nerve or two may be really angry, I'm also getting muscle spasms and Charlie horses. I have a call out to my Dr now. I had this edition done at a pain management setting and I'm worried that I will be discharged if I don't get another shot. :( I also have an EMG? Scheduled for next Tuesday and I'm scared to death :( if anyone has an opinion on what might be going on here..I'd love to hear it. Thanks again! These types of communities are true life savers :)
  • Episode is supposed to be epi. Also I've been icing like there's no tomorrow. I used ice pack every night prior to ESI ...now I'm on ice morning, noon, and night ;)
  • Coco's mom

    EMG didn't hurt for me. Was uncomfortable, bit like a tens unit where small electrical pulses are put into acupuncture needles to see if muscles working properly and measuring nerve signal quality. All this tells the doctors if there is nerve damage.

    Hope the ESI helps.

    Take care.
  • Thanks again for all that offered me advice. Your community is very helpful! So here I am day 4 post esi. Still in pain although it has calmed some. Hopefully today my pain won't progress as it did yesterday, but all I can do is hope for the best. Anyone have any experience with lidoderm patches? I'm wondering if it would be OK to put a couple on. I had myself all ready to go with the emg, but I'm now worried because everything seems so raw and aggravated, I wonder if its really a good time to mess with them nerves again, so soon. Wishing all a very happy weekend :)
  • I actually just got my first script of lidoderm patches. Havnt used any, insurance wont cover..will pick them up anyway today. Regarding the EMG, my experience with the EMG is annoying as hell...a couple of painful little jolts here and there but nothing, and I mean nothing like the pain you are living with. My brother was not bothered by the EMG at all...it bothered me, but was very instrumental in helping them locate the damaged nerves. Im not sure if it even hurts if there is not any damage....again, I dont know much, just giving you my opinion...you CAN handle this test! I did not have any irritation post test. I hear your fear and I know we all understand fear of back pain but the fear of the unknown is so much worse. I know for me not knowing is what paralyzes me in this game. I know I need another surgery...I am okay with it because it is better than not having the option and being left in horrible pain my whole life. My surgeon says he can fix this....I trust him...for now. Again, I wish you well on your journey! Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • I'd go with the ice. And maybe some movies! Relaxing helps too!
  • Dear Coco's Mom,
    I am so sorry to hear that you had a bad reaction to the ESI. I did too. I had a series of 3 injections over 2 months and each time I felt awful. I was in worse and different pain for about 3-4 days after each one and then it got back to the level of pain pre-injection. Drinking caffeinated drinks and water when you get home, icing it down every hour, changing positions, using Lidoderm patches (I used 3 every night) and finally, I was allowed to take Advil+ Tylenol after calling my Pain Mgmt. Dr. They didn't help much either. I had a massive extruded disc pressing into a nerve and I ended up getting surgery 10 weeks ago. The Lidoderm helps, but it is a shame that they are so expensive and don't reach the nerve pain all the way. I hope the steroids work for you and that your pain subsides. Sometimes the lumbar epidurals work really well after 7-10 days. Good luck with the EMG and I wish you much less pain. Lidoderm is pretty safe even though it takes a while to learn where to put them so that they stay overnight.
    Best wishes for a safe recovery-

    Extruded lumbar disc L5-S1. Laminoforaminotomy and discectomy in October.
  • I was so terrified of having the EMG but all my anxiety and worry was for naught. It was not near as painful as I imagined:) Hope all comes out well.

  • Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your stories, it truly helps :) I will go and have the EMG done and I'm less worried about it now. So, this is day 5 post ESI, I can say that my pain is improving, but still there and still different from my initial pain. Muscle spasms and stabbing pains have slowed extremely. I still have a feeling of heaviness / sore deep kinda pain in my legs and my low back and especially my right cheek still have some pretty mean nerve pain. Still icing and used lidoderm patches to dull pain so I could sleep. I sure hope after all this subsidies my original pain won't be there, as a break would be nice :) well time for coffee and take the dog out. Hope everyone has a good day
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