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Oral steroids vs injections

So my GP just had me try a round of prednisone.....called him the first day and I'm already winding down the dose to get off of it. Way too many side effects. I've had significant reactions to steroids in the past as well. I've tried most conservative care options, and I'm thinking the next thing that might be suggested is spinal injections.

My concern is that if I'm having this sort of reaction to oral steroids, will I also have a problem with the spinal injections? I know this isn't anything that anyone can answer definitively, but I was wondering if anyone else here is in the same boat where you've had problems with oral steroids and have also tried injections. If so, what was your experience?

Thanks for any input!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    The oral method distributes the steroids throughout your system. After a couple of days on any type of steroid, you might get some adverse side effects and it is very important to titrate down your dosage.

    The injection method is more concentrated in one area. This way, you 'should' not have any negative side effects.

    I had about 12 ESI over the course of 4 years... But then I had about 9 steroid injections into my hips and shoulders over a two year period of time. The result! I developed cataracts in one eye. There is a distinct difference between two types of cataracts, one is from aging, one is from medication, steroids being the biggest contributor.

    The good news is that the cataracts surgery was a dream. I went from 20/120 to 20/20 in one day!
    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
  • To be honest, I'm very hesitant to start this sort of treatment. I worry that if I start getting injections now (at age 33), I'll have lots of time for the side effects to kick in. Same goes for surgery if that were to come up. I've seen several of my in-laws go through surgery and it just seems like every time they fix one thing, something goes wrong on another level of the spine. I know I may be overreacting, but I'm honestly just having a really hard time accepting that I'm having this sort of problem at my age. I think my pride is hurting more than my back!
  • Hope3HHope3 Posts: 751
    edited 04/24/2015 - 8:10 AM
    I have had 17 over the years, last year I had one that left my leg weak and a balance issue.
    But no other side effects that I am aware of and now I am counting the minutes until my next
    one next week. When pain is at a level and nothing it happening to relieve it then I am grateful
    there is this one thing I have hope for.
    Never tried the oral type and so you just need to read up all you can and decide if that is the
    direction you want to go.
    Best wishes Sherri
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    Please dont results or feedback from others on any type of treatment scare you off.
    You should only be listening to your doctor. Its always good to get feedback from others, but you always need to way all the pros and cons.

    Spinal surgery.... Many people are afraid of it, many have had troubles afterwards, but there are thousands and thousands of people today they are doing well because of their surgery. You probably are not going to read this here. For the most part, members here are suffering, so what they post deals with this suffering and pain. When a patient starts to feel much better, they tend to leave this site. I can not tell you how many messages I get from members who tell me, they are moving on.

    That is good news, but you dont always hear it here, but there is so much good that can come from both conservative and aggressive treatments.
    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
  • I think that is exactly what I was telling them. It has to be their choice but they asked for opinions
    right which we give and they can base their decision on all the factors.
    Ops I left out the decision should be made with Doctor's not with our in-put only.
    Need to watch how you put things.
    No comment needed
  • Thank you for the encouragement. I am trying my best to make blanket judgements about any specific type of procedure. At this point I'm shooting for making the best, most informed decision that takes into account present and future concerns. It can feel a bit overwhelming, especially since I have some bad second-hand experience with in-laws who have have had spinal surgeries.

    Anyway, on to the update. Dr. is sending me to a neurosurgeon. He thinks I'm headed toward surgery. He explained that essentially my L5 cracked and that the main body of the vertebrae has moved forward. The back portion of the vertebrae is now pressing on the nerves. He said the Neurosurgeon would of course be the one to say for sure, but he thinks they may want to do a foraminotomy to relieve pressure on the nerve and do an L5/S1 fusion to stabilize the spine due to the fact that the body of the vertebrae is basically un-anchored at the moment. He said shots might still be an option, but it would only be temporary relief. Now just waiting for the referral to the neurosurgeon. It figures that we JUST switched over to an HMO this year to save money! Now we have extra hoops to jump through....
  • To Dilauro, your response was dead on, it's the truth, many people probably never come back once they're not suffering anymore. This has been a really rough period for me, I call it living a nightmare, so hopefully I won't be one of those people that just falls off the face of the planet once they have their own problem fixed. Currently I am debating a few options and learning more and more everyday about what is the best choice. I just don't want to make the wrong choice. I try to think of it as a choice that will affect the rest of my life, not just oh my gosh get me out of pain right now. Conservative route vs surgical. When my whole episode began I was actually considered a neurological emergency but once we realized I wasn't at risk of peeing in depends for the rest of my life, I was like whoa, wait, don't cut me open yet, let me think. So literally for the last few weeks I've been playing the waiting game. My pain is being managed much better now that we have the right formulation of analgesic medications but everytime we try tapering my oral steroids, my back gets very angry, which then pisaws my leg off, lol. I am not taking any type of NSAIDS, in case I do opt for surgery, so other than constant ice packs those steroids are the only anti-inflammatory medication I have. It's like without those steroids there is not enough analgesic medication to cover the pain. Unfortunately if anyone is the poster child for side effects from steroids that would be me. I got all the side effects and I got them to the extreme and swiftly. But the power those steroids have at keeping the swelling down which keeps the pain at bay is worth every single side effect right now. We tried tapering me down yesterday and I woke up in severe pain. It was like a revelation this morning of how much pain they're keeping at bay. If it weren't for the current steroids there would not be enough analgesic medication to cover that level of pain. I was like I swear I won't complain about the side effects lol, because I have been bitching about them all week lol. So currently the minimum amount my body needs to keep that pain at bay is once every 12 hours. I have epidural injection schedule for Monday which I'm very excited about because I know that these steroids work magic. I've been willing to suffer with horrendous side effects just to benefit from their magic. Hopefully injecting it into that exact spot will deliver some serious magic, because I need some type of miracle. Otherwise surgery might be looming. Just a little intro for everyone.
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