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How many Steriod Shots can I get? And is Botox better alternative?

edited 04/15/2014 - 12:49 PM in Spinal Injections
My injury is most present in my chest(not spine, though I do have pain there as well). Recently after trying massage therapy on my chest, my body reacted very negatively and I've had a constant and debilitating muscle spasticity in my right pectoral ever since(massage was 2/24). Because of this, literally any movement in my upper right arm(above the elbow) will flare up my chest spasms, making me virtually unable to perform basic living tasks let alone make it to work or school.

Since 2/24, I've had 3 sets of steriod injections. 1 in my neck for a related issue. And then 2 in my right pectoral. The first set helped tremendously, my neck was significantly better for all of march and within 5 days my pectoral spasms let up enough to the point where i made it back to work and was able to get back to homework. Then my Dr. made me do arm stretche and within 5 minutes I was back to square one with the spasms.

Because of the relief from the first set the Dr. tried another round, this time on just my right pectoral, but this time he did it with an ultrasound to help guide the needle. The problem was, he pressed so hard with the ultrasound equipment and trying to find some specific joint that it cancelled out any benefits of the shot. He literally pressed just as hard as the original massage, I previously trusted this doc but needless to say I am not happy with him right now.

How many Corticosteriod Shots can one have in succession without it being too risky?

I've tried to look online and it seems 3-4 per year is a general rule of thumb but I read this is just a guideline and that if benefits outweigh risk Dr.'s will sometimes do more. The first 2 times I had no side effects but the 3rd time I got very elevated blood pressure, sugar levels and heart rate. The Dr. that has been performing the operations has never mentioned risks and he seems a bit trigger happy with the shots, which is another reason I dont completely trust him.

On the other hand, the 1st shot in my pectoral pretty much completely fixed my problem within 5 days before the stretches botched it and I have no other means of relief in sight and I am literally by definition disabled right now in my current state which makes another round of shots very appetizing atm.

The other route my PM and PCP Dr.(dif dr. From shot dr) suggest a botox injection. I think this is a good option but the only qualms I have is that the botox will paralyze the muscle, then I get back to normal activites and when the botox runs out i feel I'll be in the same situation all over, where the steriods I feel promote more long-term healing not just temporary symptom relief.(perhaps I'm wrong about this though, thoughts welcome about botox as well.)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    about ESI (Epidural Steroid Injections)

    Many insurance companies will only allow for 3 per year. Now for steroids, when I was having Shoulder and Hip joint problems, I was getting steroid injections every 3 months. After about 5 injections per joint, they needed to hold off and find another path.

    In a 9 year period of time, I had about 13 ESI and about 15 Steroid injections. As a result, I developed cataracts. Cataracts is caused by (1) Aging or (2) Medically induced, generally by steroids. So while the steroids did buy me time,
    they created another problem. But, in the end, cataract surgery was the BEST thing I ever had. I went from 20/100 i one eye to 20/20 in 24 hours!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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