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ESI severe pain post procedure

Hi all. I'm new to all this, but have been reading alot of the posts and feel compelled to add my story as it is in so many ways similar to alot that I've read on this forum. So here goes...I'm 39 year old female otherwise mostly healthy, but have been suffering about 6 years now with low back pain. After a car accident about a year ago everything got worse fast. I should say I also believe 13 yrs as a CNA and a bad fall on ice led me to the following diagnosis ... degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy of lumbar spine, disc bulge at L4, L5, and L6 (l6 is a extra lumbar vertabra) resulting in bilateral forminal narrowing. So I had my first ESI on Tuesday it's now Friday and I'm experiencing alot of pain. It's different than the pain I had originally it radiates around my lowback to my pelvic, legs front and back and horrible pain in the buttocks, it's constant ache along with burning, muscle spasms, and cramping all in full swing. It hurts to sit or put any pressure on my behind, also hurts to walk, I'm super slow and bent over is the only way I can get around. I've been icing faithfully and taking NSAIDS and my oxycodone around the clock all this barely takes the edge off and I've spent ALOT of time crying. The pain is unrelenting and I'm on top of all this very disappointed that esi not only provided 0 pain relief, my pain is now worse :(. A little bit about my procedure, I was IV sedated versed and fentanyl for the pain. I do remember an overwhelming shocking pain down my left leg, kinda strange because most of my pain was on my right side anyway when I felt that shock the doc told nurse to push the rest of my meds. Left not feeling much pain, went home slept a few hours woke up the next day a little sore...drs orders were rest the rest of the day of procedure, return to normal activity the following day, So I resumed normal activity and pain got progressively worse and lets just say all hell broke loose that night and have been going downhill ever since. Anyone looking at this if you had a similar experience and have an idea what might be going on I'd love any input honestly I'm becoming depressed from the pain and what I'm thinking was a total fail procedure.


  • I want you to know that I had the exact same experience with my first ESI. Now after numerous ones and a triple fusion, what I share with you in the simplest of terms is this: The goal for the doctor is to get as close to the affected nerve as possible. If they do a good job, they will irritate the nerve causing pain. So, for me, increased pain always equaled a "good" shot. As the medication gets in there and reduces inflamation, you hopefully will have a decrease in pain. Again, I might not be correct in the actual medical crap involved, this was my personal experience. Its the nerves that cause our pain. As the nerve calms down, you should, or you hope to achieve pain relief. I was not told that I would have an increase in pain after the procedure....wish they would tell you that. I was crawling around on the floor, then to the bed in the fetal position, scared out of my mind. I have 2 littles ones and was alone. I had my brother pick me up in the middle of the night, I was in so much pain! If you have pain meds, stay ahead of the pain....I thought since I had the shot, things would be better, and stopped taking my regular meds. BAD IDEA! Things calmed down in about a day or so.....I got a little relief about a week in....the first round of 3 shots I did feel better, but short lived....I have family that got years from ESI's... I hope that is your experience. Stick around the site...it will save your butt many times over! Good luck to you with everything and let us know how things turn out. Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • Thanks Ellen! I sure hope you are right at least looking at it that way I can still be hopeful that all this suffering is for nothing. I will keep posted on how things are going. .
  • charryccharry Posts: 5,657
    edited 12/14/2012 - 9:26 AM
    I used to get a lot of pain for up to even 2 weeks after the injections as the steroid takes time to work on the inflammation. i noticed where I had numbness there was now pain so figured what was once numb am able to have more pain so maybe inflammation was going down! I was also told I may have some urine leakage which i did a few times while asleep.

    I never received at most more than 40% relief that never really lasted but was nice for a while. I'm going for Facet joint ablation which will kill the nerves temporarily up to a year so may be more lasting then injections ever were for me. I hope you do get some relief soon from the injections.

    I iced my back every day as it was bruised and I felt like such a weight on my back after the injections and couldn't even stand up straight so I just took it easy but the pain wasn't really horrible. It's the weekend so any concerns or any temperature increase contact your Dr. or his Nurse. All the best. 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
  • Hi

    I had my injections 2 days ago. The procedure was dreadful and very painful. I saw mt GP about an hour after the injections and he did some physical tests on me to see if the initial local had helped in joint mobility and he was amazed at how good it was. He did say however to take it easy for a tleast a week - no house work, minimal walking and nothing crazy in the bedroom.... lol.
    I cant bend over yet as i get searing pain where the injections were so i just move around a little and take pain medication until hopefully it kicks in. Hope your feeling better now
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