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Epidural injection - no relief

rapid_refillrrapid_refill Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Lower Back Pain
I had my 1st epidural injection two weeks ago and I got absolutely no relief from it. My pain level is still the same. The doctor scheduled me for another one for this Monday (March 30th) and said "I'm going to take a different approach since there was no relief from the first injection".

My pain level is 1-4. The longer I sit the higher it gets.

Any thought?



  • This is common practice. Injections are often scheduled 10 days to two weeks apart and are given in sets of three. It is not as common to change the procedure if the first injection provides no relief.

    There is no way to predict whether an ESI is going to provide any relief, or not. Sometimes the first two will have no effect, but then the patient will get relief from the third. Sometimes the patient gets no relief or change whatsoever. I think many of us on the board fall into that category.

    Since your doctor is taking the initiative to try something different, you might as well try it. You may end up with wonderful results.

    Good luck!
  • the pain consultant refused to give me any more spinal injection as they dont work on me and my back is such a mess anyway.have you tried a good TENS or even better the acticare unit?
    cold pack followed by a hot wrap followed by a cold sometimes works for a short time .but i am afraid to say that none of us on here con cure back pain completely if we could we would be very wealthy!welcome to SH
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  • I too had two out of three. I recomend that you at least try the second before calling it a wash. That seems to be a fairly commone practice. They always want to try two at least, some PMs will push on doing all three, some stop after two. It really is your body and you have the right to stop if you want. It is possible the PM may view you as non co-operating if you stop after one? My PM told me that many people see results from the second even though they see nothing from one. Do you really want to not try? What if you are one of the "lucky" ones?

    There are a lot of options left to you, so investigate and ask, welcome to the forum, it really is full of a large number of people who know, have been there and do care!
  • I see you will have the epi's on (in) lower back. I had them done in cervical area, I will never have this done again. just my opinion I had only 2 of the three done and then spent about 1 year having a hard time swallowing some time so bad I could not eat and had to wear pain patch for while. I cant prove this was due to epi's but my heart tells me it did.it has gotten better over years. And I have learned to swallow so that I can swallow, If that makes since,
    I still have problems at times (my epi's done about 3 years ago)with swallowing and I have had ever test you could imagine when it comes to my throat area,esophagus, gag reflex, for which I have none, oh i cant get started.
    my sister had epi's (3sessions) done in approx, same area and we had to call 911 and they had to do patch because of awful headache. many many years ago hard to remember details but I will never forget how she looked in pain.
    all just my experiences and sisters, I have heard of many successful epi's I'm not sure what the ratio is but would like to know. I have heard many more great outcomes with lower epi's ... all just my opinions opinions & opinions.
  • I've had 4 epidurals and the next one is April 5th. It's helped with the leg pain and sciatica for me mostly after the 2nd injection and the 4th. It doesn't help with the backpain but for me it helped the leg. Are you taking any pain meds? or nerve meds like lyrica or neurontoin? I hope you have more relief with the 2nd one. Take care. 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
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  • So I had my 2nd epidural on Monday and I don't feel any relief from it.
    The different approach that the doctor was trying was 2 injections on both sides where before he was doing 2 on the same side.

    The doctor recommended a 3rd one if this one won't help. I have to think about it now.

    What really worries me is that I ran out of options and the next step could be a surgery.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    Jack, I am only going on the information from these posts.
    So, please excuse me if I am repeating some information.
    Before any surgery should be considered, both the doctor and the patient should have an agreed conservative action plan.
    There are many other treatments besides ESI's that can provide relief.
    - Physical Therapy
    - Aqua Therapy
    - Ultrasound
    - Ice/Heat Therapy
    - Massage Therapy
    - Passive Traction
    - Acupuncture
    - Other Spinal injections (Facet, Trigger point,etc)
    - etc
    Unless your doctor is telling you that because of your current disc condition and nerve damage that you need surgery right away, I would continue on all of these conservative paths first to see if any of them or a combination will help you.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I had my 6th ESI last month and I went through hell for it. My back pain was horrendous and I had severe muscle spasms and nerve pains.They never helped me but I gave it another try recently due to scar tissue formation. The approach your doctor mentioned is a transforaminal approach and it is considered the most efficient. If the injections don't help, then surgery may be considered according to your case. It took 6 months before I had my microdiscectomy; there was a delay in getting to a specialist and then I tried conservative measures. Let us know if you decide on another ESI or if surgery is on the table. Take care
  • The first one reduced the pain by 40%. When I still had the tingling feeling in my leg the doctor wanted to do the 2nd and 3rd, those were ineffective.

    The last one was a desperate attempt at getting my pain under control (tried the patch, dilaudid, you name it...), luckily it did reduce my pain by 50% again.

    I don't know if I would do another ESI because they are expensive and want more relief if I am paying that much for them. I spent over $1000 on the injections this year.
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