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Epidural Side Effects - Do I Need To Worry

edited 06/17/2014 - 7:44 AM in Spinal Injections
Hello There. So my situation is that I have a disc prolapse at L3-L4 and L5-S1.

I was hospitalized for 11 days and the pain wasn't going and I was not able to walk. Therefore I decided to take an Epidural injection. The doctor gave me two epidurals - one at L4 and one between L3 and L4.

There has been no pain improvement whatsoever and infact I am finding it little difficult to walk. Its been 6 days since the Epidural injection.

It is interesting to note that somedays I feel the pain has reduced while somedays it has increased. I am doing my exercises regularly. However, I am avoiding those exercises which are straining my back.

My question is - Is this pain permanent? Will it worsen as it happens in some of the cases?

Is there any way to reverse the effect, as in suck out the epidural which was injected inside?

What do you people suggest I do? Thanks.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 06/17/2014 - 6:00 AM
  • expected and normal. There is no way to remove the steroid injection .
  • I'm not clear on what side-effects you are experiencing. You said there is no pain improvement and you find it a little difficult to walk, where you said that before the injections you were unable to walk. Isn't that an improvement, rather than a side-effect? You also said on some days the pain is better. That is a positive. If you are having side-effects from the steroid drug itself, they should subside once the drug wears off.
  • confused. Maybe they got the terms confused? Improvements and side effects?
  • Hey Guys,

    Just to clear the confusion, When I said there is here is improvement I meant in the sense that I am able to walk.

    However, there is this new pain and also I am experiencing sometimes pain in the legs and numbness which I have never experienced before. This is what I meant by worsening side effect. Before it was isolated to intense lower back pain.

    I was thinking of going for a Moxibustion in Acupuncture. Do you think that will help?

    I am now doing extreme regular exercise (4 times a day). Whenever I have a hot bath it helps subside the pain but the next morning its back and yes, cold is something which worsens my pain. I don't know what else to do, maybe swimming.

    Thanks a lot for your replies guys. Sorry for checking late.
  • you should NOT be doing extreme excercises of any kind......and you wanted to know if accupuncture can help to ease the pain, it may, however, it would be smarter to see a spine surgeon to find out what he thinks are your best treatment options before allowing anyone to do anything else to your spine.
  • Hi there, I'm sorry about your pain. I know it's tough. My understanding of the steroid injection is that it helps to speed up the healing process. Therefore it is not a quick fix, but it is an effort to speed things up. From what I was initially told, 90% of disc prolapses heal on their own given time - up to 6 months. For most people on this site we sit in the 10%. Unfortunately. The steroid can take time to work and you may not see improvement for a couple of weeks - you have seen some improvement so that's awesome. Hang in there, some people have no improvement from epidural at all - I had 3 to no avail. Just follow the instructions to the letter and keep being positive. Kath
  • Hi Sandi,

    Thanks for your comments. Again sorry, wrong English on my part. When I meant extreme, I meant the amount of exercise (4 times instead of the recommended 2). All these exercises I can do without any pain on my back and any exercise causing me even little bit of pain, I am avoiding.

    Interesting things is when I was hospitalized for 12 days, I was actually handled by a spine surgeon. He wasn't very clear and basically gave me choices and asked me to choose (Surgery was one of the options) and it was almost as if he wanted me to get the surgery done. However, I want to stay away from surgery as much as possible as I have heard some really bad stories about it. I chose the Epidural option.

    I get numbness and current like pains sometimes in my legs which I was told and after reading some threads in this forum feels like a nerve problem (The epidural needle possibly hitting the nerve). That is why I was thinking of seeing a neurosurgeon or a neurologist. Please advice.

    One last question. I have left smoking. Do I have to even avoid drinking (I only drink on weekends)?
  • Have you had an MRI? Did they tell you how large the herniation is? A smaller herniation may heal on it's own......when the nerve is compromised, waiting too long can result in permanent damage. Did the surgeon say that there was nerve impingement or compression?
    While most of us would like to avoid surgery if we can, there are some situations where surgery is the best option and to avoid permanent damage, surgery is something to consider.

  • Yes I did take a MRI. My spine surgeon told, its a Disc Prolapse and somewhere between minor and medium case. He did not comment anything about the nerve except that he said the pain cause might be due to the disc pressing on the nerves.
  • if the herniation is in contact with a nerve root, it can cause pain. Have you gotten any relief from the injection?
  • Hey Sandi,

    I don't know, but you maybe aware of this. Firstly, to answer your question, the injection did provide me pain relief to some extent. But then new pains developed. Recently I had started getting shooting pains in my left leg especially when I stretch it.

    Recently I started having Glucosamine and Chronditine tablets and my pain seems to have reduced quite a lot. I still get the shooting pains sometimes though.

    However, I read some reviews where they mentioned that when they stopped taking these tablets, the pain came back. As per my research these are natural ingredients found in the joint tissues. Why this pain killer like effect?
  • and cartilege pain.....so that may be why you are experiencing some relief.
  • KimmykimKKimmykim Posts: 4
    edited 07/14/2014 - 7:45 AM
    I as well am very worried about the more amount of pain that I have since I received my transforminal lumber epidural. I am having problems sitting, laying, and using the toilet. I read it takes up to 2 days for pain to subside, it hasn't and I'm scared.
  • edited 07/15/2014 - 5:28 AM
    Hey Kimmy,

    The pain took me several weeks actually to subside. I still do have new pains but I am confident they will go away if I take the right precautions and continue my exercises. I would also blame my eagerness to play tennis for my sciatica pain since last week.

    The only thing I would suggest to you is continue doing your exercises (if you are doing any already). Don't do all the exercises your doctor has told you. Do only those that doesn't cause you pain. You can keep including the rest as time goes by.

    Exercises and hot packs have really helped me. Infact I always do this - Hot Pack -> Exercise. Cold Packs don't suit me (however, they work great for some).

    If possible, please start swimming after some weeks. Also a great exercise. If you are a tennis addict like me, try not to jump in too early or if you still want to, do it after some weeks/a month with a strong lumbar belt support.
  • Hi. Thank you for giving your opinion. I so appreciate it. I have started some exercises, but don't know them all for the area. Swimming sounds good, I'm going to look into that. You be careful with tennis.
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