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Had my appt - your thoughts? Steriod injections?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Lower Back Pain
Went to the spine specialist on Friday. It was very interesting to see my MRI. It was interesting to see how much narrowing there is where the disc is protruding and to see that the disc btwn L5-S1 is almost completely black where the healthy ones showed up as nice a white. Doc recomended Physical therapy and an epidural steroid injection that I will be getting on Halloween. He said whether it is surgery some time soon or in a few years I will probably have to have it. It would be a spinal fusion. I go back to him in 6 weeks unless my pain starts getting worse then I can call and make an appointment to see him sooner. He said he only see's my condition getting worse and that eventually he wouldnt be surprised if I started getting sciatica down my left leg as well (oh god, please no!!!) Right now I only have it only in my right. I also can't lift anything that more than 10 pounds but he said walking is good and hiking to as long as I don't have pain while doing it.

I have been reading some of the posts on people who have gotten these shots and it seems completely different for everyone. Is there a crazy amount of pain afterwards? Do they give you pain meds for after in case you need them? I am very nervous about it but willing to try anything.

I have been talking with a sports therapist about physical therapy. We have just been emailing back and forth, I haven't seen him yet but he was reccomended by a friend. Has anyone ever used active release techniques for your muscle spasm and nerve pain? That is what this guy uses. But he is a chiropractic sports therapist and spine doc said stay away from chiropractic care, but if he doesn't do any manipulation would it be worth a try? My lower back is in a constant spasm. I dont think it ever goes away.


  • But I can tell you about my personal experience:

    Many of us here have tried non invasive things to no avail. Many of us have had great experience with conservative methods. Each body is different.

    I have had three rounds of steriod and/or epidural injections. Twice I got some relief. Once I got no relief. The pain is exacerbated by the shots for a couple of hours, and then I felt a little sore the next day. Nothing too harsh (for me)

    regarding the sports therapy. If the doctor says no, you at miminum need to discuss the situation with him before you go into this. Generally they have your best interest in mind. If you don't trust what your doctor tells you, perhaps you should find another one that you feel more comfortable with.

    Physical therapy was prescribed to me by a NS, and it ultimately led me to more pain as I reruptured a disc in the process. I knew that I should not have been doing these exercises and that the pain I was having was not muscular. My body told me. So, I neglected to listen and got hurt. Needless to say I left that doctor and found another who listened to and addressed my concerns.


    1. Listen to your body.
    2. Listen to your doctor.

    Hope that helps you make a decision.

    One Love,


  • Greetings,

    My L5/S1 sounds exactly like yours, that "blackness" looks scary when you see the healthy ones.

    RE: steroid shots, while I see a lot of people having great success with them.I had one for my gout last year that really tore my body and mind up, I had some very bizarre side effects that for me were no worth exploring them as an option again.Now, before you get worried, I am a diabetic and bipolar which are contradicted by steroids, so my experience was a culmination of multiple factors.

    Best to talk with your doctor about the pros/cons.
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  • I had an epidural 10 days ago and I'm starting to feel some relief. The epidural is supposed to help sciatica. I also had trigger therapy injections for referred back pain. I hope you get some pain relief. I'm not familiar with active release therapy. I would always follow the advice of your Doctor though. Keep us posted on your progress. 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
  • Though I have had 3 rounds of this, Once it helped and the other two did not. After 3 failed surgeries and so many types of therapy, I can only tell you with ASSURANCE that "Once a bad back always a bad back"

    I feel for you and everyone else that experiences this as we have, I in my own sound mind am at my wits end. I simply cant take the pain anymore.
  • I have had spinal fusion at L5/S1 and I am having leg pain again. I am scheduled for epidural injection on November 10th and I really hope it works!! I had one before I had surgery (2005) and it didn't do much (hence giving in and having surgery)but this time it may. It seems to have a lot of different outcomes for each situation. I can't remember if they give you anything for pain afterwards, I was sedated for the procedure but can remember being in pain after.
    You sound just like me, willing to try anything. I have been on a bunch of different anti-inflammatory meds this year, now on Neurontin for the past 10 or so days. The leg pain has gotten so bad that I can't do everyday things I usually do with the chronic pain in my back, so I'm game to try anything. I hope you have success with the injection, because I know how much this hurts!! Good luck! :)
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  • My opinion is that it would be worth trying. It is one of the least invasive things that can be tried and you may just get relief from it. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis a year ago. I was scheduled for surgery but then delayed it to get more information. The Mayo Clinic web site was a good source of information. In June the pain in my right leg got so intense I saw the surgeon again. I then got an epidural shot which provided much relief in a few days. That was followed by physical therapy which also helped. It has now been 4 months and no recurring of that pain. The therapy exercises are a big help in keeping the pain to a tolerable level. I wouldn't consider surgery at this time and only hope I am not just delaying the inevitable. A second epidural is also a possibility if the pain should reoccur.

    Good luck
  • Hiya!

    I had an epidural steroid injection on my birthday of all days, it was not a very nice experience and unfortunately never worked for me, neither did the facet joint injections, no relief what so ever. I hear however alot of people have instant relief so its defintiely worth a try, everyone is different. Be warned though that the epidural does mean you will be completely paralysed from the waist down for at least 4 hours after the injection, it is a very peculiar feeling indeed! But this is very normal and you will be able to go home once feeling in your legs has returned. If it is suggested you should try the facet joint injections also definitely give it a go, i found this helpful even though it did not give me any relief as the specialists were able to pin point exactly where my pain was coming from, so i now have a slightly better understanding of my pain. Definitely give it a go though Christine, i had a friend who had one epidural injection a year ago and her pain vanished immeidately...my auntie had one many years ago and hasnt complained about her back pain ever since!

    Good luck!!

    Ruth :H
  • I was not paralysed at all, after any of my ESI's. I had a little bit of numbness in my feet, but I was still able to stand and bear my own weight, The numbness only lasted less than about a half an hour, and I was able to go home.

    I think being paralysed for 4 hours afterwards has got to be a very rare occurance.
  • Hi Christine,
    I have had steroid shots several times in my back, shoulders, knees, ankle, feet and hands...yep I am a mess...anyway...they work about 75% of the time in my experience. I have had everything from immediate relief to nothing at all to 10 days before they take effect. I have never had any really bad reactions to them nor any real pain following the procedure, whether in the back or in my joints. So, as everyone else has said, listen to your body and do what you think is best. MY back is just like yours to the T. My neck was too and I had a disc removed and it was the best thing I have done surgically.
    So, at times you do feel alone in a lot of this stuff but this web site is a great place to find advice and others who are suffering with the same stuff. Hang on to those good days..
    I will be thinking of you on Friday as I go in as well for the same shots. We can compare notes! the last time I had these they worked for almost 6 months and I combined it with Chiropractic and therapy. I am trying to wait out getting the disc removed till I get my knee replaced so these shots will hopefully help me again for another 6 months and I hope the same for you.

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