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increased pain after epidural steriod injection

carolyoyoccarolyoyo Posts: 21
I had a epidural cortisone injection for a 3-4 mm herniation at L5 about 2 months ago. It really increased my pain and the Doctor doesn't know why. I had an MRI and it show the herniation is now 2mm. Could the doctor have damaged the nerve? I show no weakness. I have pain going down the front and back of both legs and a little numbness in my right foot. Before the injection I just had a little numbness in one leg. I'm on nerve meds now and I wasn't before.

Anyone had this happen?



  • Hi Carol,

    Before surgery, I was taking the conservative way and I had had 3 epidurals injections. 1st one was great, lasted about 8 months. 2nd one was OK lasted about 3 months. 3rd one was not good. Right after the injection about 2 days I developed more pain than I was in. I had a reaction to the epidural according to my doctor. The epidural did nothing but aggravate the nerve more. According the doctor, when he injected the sight, the fluid added more pressure on the nerve that was already angry & cramped in no space. It took about 1 month for my body to absorb the injection so it wasn't creating as much pain. After that, I was in just as much pain if not worse. I couldn't do my normal daily routine. I had to consider different options. The doctor would probably never admit to doing any wrong. When you have angry nerves, it doesn't take much to make them more angry. You may need to consider something different that works for you whether its PT, Acupuncture, Chiro, Surgery, or whatever your doctor recommends. Get different opinions before you make any BIG decisions. Good luck and ICE a lot!

  • Hi Taunz,

    So I'm not crazy. That was my experience. The nerve got cramped and irritated. Now 2 months out, I'm still having a lot of pain.

    My doctor thinks that this is an "emotional issue" and referred me to a Pain Clinic. My PT has given up on me and said it's not orthopedic. I'm getting a bone scan and a nerve test done.

    Does that angry nerve ever calm down? I'm having a hard time working. What did you do after this happened? I'm trying acupunture, medication, meditation and a TENS unit.

    I was never even told that increased pain was a possibility.
    I am so angry.
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  • The doctors always like to make you look like the crazy one. They never tell you the what ifs or possibilities because it can't happen to them, they have done a million of them, nothing will go wrong.
    He didn't believe me when I said the injection didn't work and it made it worse. Try to find a doctor who will listen to you, not one who makes you feel like your at fault with "your" emotions.
    PT sometimes can aggravate the nerves because you are moving. You have to have a good pain tolerance with nerve issues because they hurt and are irritating. It may be an orthopedic problem with an inflamed nerve rubbing.
    I tried everything you can think of before i did surgery. I was going the conservative route first, because I was afraid of having surgery. Finally it got to the point that my nerves where keeping me from functioning in daily life (walking, sitting, exercising, sleeping, standing), I had to do something.
    I am 3 weeks post op from a micro disc on 3 levels. I can't believe I waited so long, I am in no pain anymore from the herniated disc, but because I waited so long, it is taking a while for the nerves to calm down. My leg/foot is still numb but I am in no pain, just irritation from the nerves.
    It can take a long time for nerves to calm down. I've heard it can take 6mo-1yr. I hope not.
    Sometimes you have to look at whats causing them to be angry and work on that. Even a 2mm bulge can cause nerve or sciatic issues if its hitting it just right.
    Ask your doctor about Lyrica. That is the only medication that has worked for me post op. I tried it before sx and it really didn't work as much as now, because I had a lot of angry nerves, but it might work for you. It is strictly for nerves. It has taken away all the burning and rapid firing and is calming my nerves. It doesn't work for everyone. I had to go on a higher mg but now I can sleep and go about my day, without nerve pain.
    I no its hard, but be tough and find someone you can trust and who listens to you. Ask your doctor what you can do. Have him list 3 things and you pick the order that's best for you, try it if it doesn't work move on to the next. Give everything at least a 2 week shot first.
    Good luck PM me anytime you want, Please let me know your progress!

  • Hi Taunz,

    So glad the surgery worked for you. And I hope your nerves calm down very soon. What does the nerve pain feel like? Mine feel like a burning in my butt and down my legs.

    I had minimal discomfort before the epidural. I could work all day and do everything I wanted to do. But the Doctor made the epidural seem like a magic bullet that would fix everything.

    I think the cortisone really cramped the nerve, irritated it and it is holding a grudge. LOL I just want to get back to where I was before the injection.

    Another thing that is in play is my muscles are cramping because of the pain. A TENS unit seems to help with that.

    I hope that the nerve pain will go away soon.

    You said to ICE. Where do I Ice on my back or down my legs

  • Ice on you back (around the injection site), that's where it is all coming from, it helps calm everything down. No heat with nerves, even though it may feel good it just draws the blood there and it throb's.
    Nerves feel different every time. You could feel the burning (which also seems cold), rapid fire where they shoot really quickly, Throbbing, sore, just plain old irritating. If you feel it in your butt it might also be sciatica.
    Have you called the doctor? If not you should. Just see what he recommends. Wish you luck!

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  • Recently, I had a physical with my PCP and he told me straight out, "once you have back problems, no matter how big or small, your a Red Flag". Meaning of course that back problems are a menace to the medical society. Often you'll notice that your symptoms change day to day, certain positions can/will aggravate your agony. I wasn't taken back by his remark, as I experience this all the time with my Doctor's. Once you find one that seems to understand your problems, the politics begin. Go have these test done and see what happens. I could go on and on, but I think we all understand my comment (opinion). It's You against the world, my Dad always told me and it took me all these years to understand what he meant, as He was Disabled also. Pardon my rant, just another day in my world. as always, my prayers to all that suffer.
  • I have degenerative disk disease, for about 10 years now and over the last two years it progressively got worse. I was to the point where I was having trouble bending and walking due to my disks being L5,S1 and L5,L4. I finally went to a pain clinic, had several injections which seemed to make it worse, the pain clinic sent me to a psycologist, and soon they found the pain was real and I was not crazy. Next I went to one surgeon who said it wasn't too bad and sent me on my way,so I sent all my records to 5 different spe :SS cialists, I recieved a call the day after I sent them out from one who had me in surgery within 2 weeks! I finally thought I was getting somewhere, Lol! Now comes the nerve pain, the first epideral seemed to work after about 3 days, I had absolutely no pain in my back 6 wks out of surgery, but now I have unbareable pain in my hip where it was bone graphed and sharp pain going down my right leg into my foot with some tingling, so 2 wks later I go for another injection and have my 2nd one done, this time my butt gets numb and my pain gets worse in my hip. 2 days ago I go in for my 3rd and very last one, now the pain is in my back again, my hip and right leg still and get this, now going in my left hip down my left leg. Is there any end in sight? I have 4 children who ask if I will ever be able to do things with them again
  • i do not have ddd but i did have a herniated disc which the pain got to be unbearable so i had a lamenectomy and i haven't worked since then that was almost 4 years ago i've had many, many, injections, and the last one had my right leg ( which was not the problem leg) paralyzed just for a few hours but i was scared as hell, but none of the injections worked at all ' now i have a spinal chord stimulator since Oct. 06' now since it did nothing for my pain and just made me very uncomfortable in many differant ways, now that is going to be taken out in Nov. this year and then probably early next year i am supposed to get a lumbar fusion at L5 S1 to see if that will help with the pain. + i'm on many heavy narcotic meds, 2 muscle relaxers, and 2 differant kind of sleeping pills all because of this horriable pain, and i have 3 children that have watched me go through all of this, i have missed almost 4 years of doing the things a father is supposed to do with their kids and because all of this crap i'm a very bitter, and angry, and can fly off the hook at the drop of a dime, so it can be hell on the childrens lives as well as our own.... we all feel for you and i am sure we are all hopeing that you get to feel better real soon for yours and the kids' sakes
  • i've only been going thru this for almost 4 years and it's all about the politics it's a bunch of bull---- i have had a lamenectomy on L5S1 and the pain just got worse, have had the caudal steroid injections, facet joint blocks, many of the injections which i might add none have worked, 2 years ago i had a spinalchord stim implanted, now i'm getting it removed in Nov. because it did nothing for the pain, i'am on many differant pills narcotics, muscle relaxers, sleeping meds, nothing helps, and early next year i'am supposed to get a lumbar fusion and i'm deffinantly scared of that one but it souns like i will be going thru this crap for the rest of my life? i'm only33 and am sick and tired of all the burocracy bull that i just cannot take much more of it!!but anyways I HEAR YA!!!!AND IT SUCKS
  • thank you for responing, I forgot about the no feeling, the last injection I had, I was without feeling in from my waiste down to my feet from 9:30am until 2:30pm I was scared shitless also, my brother who is handicapped lives with us so I had a wheelchair thank goodness, but all my doctor said was call in 6 hours and let us know if you have feeling back or not, if not we'll see what we can do. Do any doctors have any compassion for people anymore or do they just see numbers?
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