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1st injection - still have pain - how long til numbness goes away?

Triguy914TTriguy914 Posts: 4
edited 08/07/2015 - 2:21 PM in Spinal Injections
I had my 1st ESL injection Wednesday. I have a "severely herniated L4-L5 disc" according to the doc.

I still have pain in my back lower back, left side, probably now 10-20% of the horrible pain I had prior to injection. Docs office says that i have to wait 2 weeks to see how steroids take effect before a 2nd injection. any thoughts on this aspect?

Additionally, i still have numbness in my left leg, lower section, and can feel that my muscles (particularly inside of quad) are not all firing

I am an Iron distance Triathlete. I was 3 days ahead of my 5th Ironman when i suffered my herniated disc 2 weeks ago.
once i get the proper injection in, i am wondering how long until I will have my muscles firing again and can begin cycling & running again?

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  • I am 50 yrs old, very fit, in excellent health.
    I had a trauma to my back 3 years ago. I slipped on a stair and came down on my SI joint. Aside from on and off problems with that, i haven't had any history of back problems.

    This seems to have come out of nowhere. I would say that my back wasn't feeling great. that i had been stretching it more at the suggestion of my chiropractor. I also have not done much in the way of core work. That said, i swim 3x a week, run almost daily and cycle for 9 hours a week over three sessions. All of this does contribute to core fitness.

    The day this happened(thursday), I lifted and removed 2 lightweight bicycles from the roof of my car, 3x. I also stretched my back by leaning over a fence, removing myself from that fence was awkward.

    a few hours later, my back was in substantial pain.
    I was in Lake Placid NY for the Ironman. I saw a friend who is a chiropractor, 3x over the next 48 hours. He immediately thought it might be a herniated disc. I left Lake Placid on Sunday and returned home. Upon returning to NY, I saw a pain doc on Tuesday who started me on Oral Steroids, Prednisone, and ordered an MRI (Saturday)
    Prednisone wore off on Saturday/ Sunday. Saw doc on Monday, she gave me Vicodin, was scheduled to see injection doc on Weds, thinking i wouldn't get injection until following Monday, but got it on Weds.

    ESI was on the 14th day after symptons first presented.
  • bumping this up
    I have had nerve damage to my lower leg and some nerves are not firing.
    trying to get a sense on how long it will take with PT (Stimulating nerves) to regain sensation and full use of my complete leg muscles
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    really need to be answered by your doctor. No one here can provide you with any advice on when you should be able to return to some of your exercises.

    So many people react differently to Epidurals. Some get good success right away, others nothing. Its hard to predict what kind of outcome anyone is going to have. Waiting 2 weeks after your first injection to have another sounds extremely aggressive. I know with my dozen or so ESI, my doctors wanted to wait 6-8 weeks. But again, that is something your doctor can only tell you
    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
  • honeybun23hhoneybun23 Posts: 1
    edited 08/17/2015 - 12:55 PM
    I have been having numbness on my left toe...slowly progressing up to my entire foot...now starting on the right side...toes and ankle area. This condition has been slowly progressing for the past couple of years..just never realized it's a problem until past 6 months. have EMG condution test. shoe some nerve root issue...took Gabapentine 900 for 3 months, I Dos pack orsal steroids, 10 PT sessions, nothing helped...have my first injection this past Thursday...so far...still no improvement at all..not even a bit....numbness 24-7. Anyone has similar issue....very frustrated....how soon will I know for sure injection did not work...hopeful;;y I am wrong.

    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 08/17/2015 - 1:58 PM
    My experience is sometimes helps or sometimes not. Only a diagnostic tool from what I was told. I just had my facets joint injections 3 on each L3/S1 and the nerve pain down my leg had immediate relief. In my case this is the 2nd second set 1st being June 12th 2nd being Aug 14. For me if I get relief I will then be scheduled the coolief RF and my insurance requires 2 rounds of this kind of injection before proceeding to next step. I have herniated L5/S1 with aggressive arthritis but I am quite nervous about the next step. If I can sleep without pain and walk without the nerve I'm going forward. Ron is right we can just tell you about our experience but the rest is up to you and the doc. Wonderful that you are in such great shape. Give it some time.
  • I have had two injections in my neck because of pain. I think one thing you have to keep in mind, is that injections don't fix anything, they only serve to help the pain. I have many back problems that I won't go into, but after a major surgery have had substantial nerve problems. Example, I ride a bike and my hands go numb. I have many doctors, and no one seems to have a good answer for me. Injections may make my neck feel a little better, but they don't help at all with any of the other issues that doctors are not identifying. Im not trying to be negative, but Im trying to be realistic. If you have a problem (herniated disc), it may be causing other problems, or you may have done some other damage that you are unaware of. Your disc could be up against a nerve that is causing you other issues. I would suggest another opinion, and hope that you are seeing a neurologist as well as an ortho. Again, Im not a Dr, just a person who has had many many issues for many years, and has learned not to put all my eggs in one basket. If someone asked me the most important thing a person could have, I would say it's a good dr, that not only knows what they are doing, but that really cares about the person they are treating. Good luck!!!
  • Triguy914TTriguy914 Posts: 4
    edited 08/20/2015 - 4:35 AM
    Thanks for all of the comments.
    To be clear - the ESI seems to have taken care of 95-98% of the pain. Now and then, especially in the morning, I have slight pain. I have been told by my chiropractor:
    -that the numbness and lack of muscle firing is the damage that was done by the initial herniation AND inflammation.
    -the disappearance of pain is the effect of the ESI talking care of the inflammation
    -that if the nerve issues are not getting worse no more damage is done, but the nerves are damaged
    -that nerves will regenerate over time and that doing exercises (body weight squats, cycling, etc) will help them regenerate sooner due to thier being used

    looking for any input on how long to regenerate and should I be seeing a Neurologist? or is a physiatrist good enough?
  • HawksnestHHawksnest Posts: 1
    edited 09/10/2015 - 9:57 PM
    I just had my first injection 3 weeks ago in the sciatic nerve. The pain is horrible, I thought I had a blood clot. My leg is still numb and I started experiencing severe dizziness a few days ago. I called my dr and they ask me to go to the nearest hosp for blood work and they would call me back that evening. I caught a ride and visited the lab, that was yesterday. The nurse called and said that he was in surgery, but I did not have an infection which is what they were thinking, however, my white blood count was a little high. I ask what plan B was and she had no answer other than to rest and he could call me back in a day or so. Is it normal to have the dizziness? The back and leg pain 3 weeks out from injection? Im about to purchase a cain if this doesn't get better. And suggestions?

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • Cindi0906CCindi0906 Posts: 6
    edited 09/13/2015 - 7:38 PM
    DON'T DO ANY MORE. I had 8 epidural steroid injections - on the 9th one I was paralyzed from the upper chest all the way down to my feet. It has been 5 years of shear agony and pain. I am able to walk now after years of PT however, I have never gotten back the use of my left hand. I still have and always will have a neurogenic bladder and bowels. I will be stuck using catheters for the rest of my life. The whole left side of my body is messed up, most of it is numb but very painful, lots of nerve pain. I can no longer run, jump, my balance is horrible, I could go on and on. Just don't chance it!!

    While it was very unfortunate to have the negative results from the ESI. But please keep in mind, ESI's are done so very frequently, the chances of what happened to you is very slim. You can read all the statistics about ESIs, the risks, etc and your situation is so very rare. But this should never prevent any member from deciding to or not have a ESI based on your experience.

    -- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 09/14/15
  • The weakness/numbness you may experience in your leg or arm following the injection typically wears off in 3 to 6 hours. You must have someone drive you home. Do not drive until you have normal sensation and strength.
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