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Horrific pain during epidural for L5-S1 herniation( with left leg sciatica)

I am healthy 41yo male who has L5-S1 Disc herniation (acute stage Jan 11 2014) with left nerve root compression. I had an epidural today and during advancement of the catheter I felt a blast of the most intense pain I have ever experienced. This was never discussed as an experience to expect during an epidural when prepping for the procedure. The physician said it was unfortunate that I experienced this but the medication was delivered to just the right place and due to the inflamation I may have experienced this pain along with the fact that alot of medication was placed in a small space. I asked and re-asked why I experienced this because I dont believe the answer I got was correct. Something wasnt right and the only thing I can think of was that I was not given an adequate amount of lidocaine and thus felt the insertion if the catheter and deployment of medication. Does this sound correct or could something else have happened? I never want to experience that kind of pain ever again or have anyone experience this. Could an expert on this site please provide an explanation? I have no increased neurological deficits, in fact it seems as though I have improved some but I cannot ever experience that kind of pain voluntarily ever again. Please help.


  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    The information on this forum are from members personal experiences and opinions, this links maybe helpful too



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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    pain before, during and after having an Epidural Spinal Injection.
    But for starters, there is no one here who is a medical expert. There are no doctors or formal medical professionals who post here. The information you read is based on individual's personal experiences and/or their research.

    I have had numerous spinal injections and other steroid injections into major joints. The key to any of these injections is fluoroscope and/or X-ray guidance. Without that, the professional performing the procedure is doing what is considered by naked eye. I have had one of those 'naked eye' injections causing sharp pain and days of discomfort. I do not understand the medical professional's statement
    elorien said:

    . The physician said it was unfortunate that I experienced this but the medication was delivered to just the right place and due to the inflammation I may have experienced this pain along with the fact that alot of medication was placed in a small space.
    That just does not make sense to me.

    I would read some of the following threads and articles

    This is a personal view:
    A patients view about Spinal Injections

    These are formal medical articles and videos
    Spine-Healths Library about Spinal Injections
    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
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  • So sorry you experienced that type of pain. From my own personal experience, I have had several spinal injections. All of which were guided by fluoroscope and x-ray. They are not comfortable but I did not feel they were overly painful. If you need to have any in the future I would recommend maybe going to a facility that offers the injections with sedation and fluoroscope. Also from my own personal experience none of the injections worked for me now I am waiting for surgery. Good luck.
    alif l4-s1
  • Really touched the nerve!!!! I bet it hurt! I've had epidurals and nerve blocks. Was out for all of them. But fine 6 to8 hours after. Then a little soreness at injection site.

    Maybe he didn't give you enough lidocaine.....and if he didn't use xrays doing it even worse!!

    Sorry you had go thru that....I've read some others had bad experience too.
  • I had a ESI today in my L5 S1, this is what happened.. I layed on the bed and he then put the numbing medication in my back, which by the way burned! and then immediately afterward he started putting a needle in my spine, i felt a pop in my back, that radiated down my legs, then another one, at this time i started tearing up and asked him why its doing that, and then he did it again and then one more time and my leg shot up and he said just putting air in to break through is all, and then one more time and then he stated he has it, and if i was ok, and then started to put in the steroid medication which was burning in front of my legs and in my back, and then i had to turn to my right side when done lay there for a minute. They repeatedly asked me if i was ok for ever 2 minutes of the 20 minutes i had to wait till i could go home. The only numb part of my body was on my right butt cheek on the side of it and that was it, i can feel everything in my back and its feeling stiff and cannot bend over all the way. Im also experiencing a headache. This is my first spinal injection and not sure if this is normal or not.
    Felicia Hill
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  • Sometimes you shouldn't read some posts, just kidding they are all valuable.
    I am having two tomorrow so my nerves are pretty on edge.
    In the past I had two painful ones and have lasting issues from them and I can
    tell you I have been in panic mode this past week. A great person on
    here though has helped me a lot to deal with it, if you are in pain
    that is just at a level that you cannot tolerate it and your life has been
    put on hold well, I guess I would do just about anything to relieve that.
    So tomorrow on-ward I go and keep your fingers crossed for me please.
    Wish you well
  • but never again after that, it was like the worst day of sciatic pain in one big burst. I also wound up with what I know now to be a spinal headache, even though the doctor swore that couldn't be a side effect...uhm, sudden onset when sat upright and relief when our back into to laying, yup that was a spinal headache. All the shots after that one were done by another clinic and definitely very different, they touch the nerve enough to know they are in the rig spot without sending me to the moon. I explained this first experience to the other clinic and they did say, depending on inflammation and rawness of the nerve, it was possible to feel that bad, but very rare. Yay us.
  • I do find them sore and uncomfortable though, just not more painful than what I walked in with.
  • I guess you have to trade one pain for the other in hope of
    a positive outcome right.
    This guy is young that is doing mine, I didn't have time to
    check him out. He does therapy for the SI joint, it is his specialty
    so I am hoping he makes it gentle. It could never hopefully be worse
    than when they do a discography . Not sure you spell it that way but
    wow if you ever had one of those, these injections are a piece of cake.
    Take care
  • I had the exact same experience. For about 30-45 seconds it was extreme pressure and intense pain down my leg. The doctors told me the same thing, that it could be inflammation. I wasn't buying it. From that point on I requested sedation for all those injections. Worked out much better.
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