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My experience with nerve block/cortisone injection to L5/S1

Hello!

I've read a lot of scary stories about spinal injections, so I just wanted to share my experience today. A quick bit of background first: I'm 7 weeks post Microdiscectomy, with pain levels around the same as I had prior to the operation. An MRI has ruled out a re-herniation, so my doctor is suspecting that the sciatic pain is bing caused by inflammation around the operation site.

Today I had an combination nerve block / cortisone shot. My doctor used a fluoroscopy to help him guide the needle to the correct place.

The doctor began with a local anaesthetic. This was the only point where I experienced pain - just a couple of mild pinpricks. The only other sensation I experienced was when he injected the cortisone - I felt a warm flush run down my buttocks and into my left thigh.

Once the procedure was over I sat in the waiting run for 10 minutes before being sent home. I took the bus in rush hour, and had to stand all the way home (about an hour). So far I feel fine. The doctor said that the cortisone will take a few days to do it's job, and that I will probably feel a bit more pain tomorrow - as the injected fluids will compress the nerve a bit.

So thats it. Hope this is of interest to some of you. If I experience any adverse affects I'll be sure to post them here!

All the best
Mark
Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
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1

Comments

  • It's now the day after the procedure. Last night I had no sciatic pain, due to the nerve block. This indicates that the L5/S1 nerve is indeed the source of the pain.

    Now the sciatic pain is back, as expected. But it's a little less intense. It'll be interesting to see if things improve once the cortisone has a chance to kick in :)
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
  • Two days since the injection and I'm having a bad day. I actually wok up feeling pretty good. After showing I lay on my back to cut my toenails and since then I've had quite a bit of sciatic pain. This could also be used to be reducing my pain medication, so not panicking yet....

    Hopefully the ESI will start to take effect soon....
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,299
    Mark,

    First, you gave an excellent overview of the injections. What should be done by all doctors and the initial results. The nerve block generally will last 24-48 hours. After that, its a question about how long will it take
    for the steroid to be effectively (or not). I've had some ESI's that took almost 10 days before I felt any level of improvement, and there were those that I did not see any improvement.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,440
    my steroid injections are day 1: frozen and good. day 2: unfrozen and bearable. day 3: unfrozen and achy and not really all that pleasant.....day 4-6 a little better than day 3....day 7 someone flicks a lightswitch and it's better, much better...delicate feeling but better. thankfully my facet injection relief lasts about 3 months....hopefully you get some good relief!!!!!
    Kathy
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • Thanks for the comments! It's actually got worse as the day has progressed - to the point that I'm starting to get a little concerned. Will keep the faith and hopefully will see an improvement soon :)
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
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  • marksinpainmarksinpain Posts: 41
    edited 11/04/2016 - 3:38 AM
    A little update - no improvment yet. I would say I'm worse off than I was before the injection. No idea whether this is due to the toenail cutting or injection. A bit disheartened, but there is still time for the cortisone to work it's magic. Fingers crossed!
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
  • Still no improvement. Still worse off than I was prior to injection. Feeling pretty disheartened right now, but I guess it's still too early to say that the injection has failed...
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
  • Now I've got a dose of manflu. WILL THE TORTURE EVER STOP?

    :#
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
  • Still no improvement. Over all my sciatica has worsened since the shot. I've also had problems with my SI joint, which hasn't helped.

    At this point I'm considering the ESI to be a failure. I have a telephone consult with my doctor next Monday. I don't know what happens now. Maybe oral steroids? Or maybe a second ESI?
    Easter 2013 : Onset of sciatic pain.
    Sep 2016 : L5-S1 minimally invasive microdiscectomy.  Pain returns in full 10 days after surgery.
    Oct 2016 : MRI rules out a re-herniation. 
    Oct 2016 : ESI (cortisone and nerve block).  Increased Sciatic Pain from 2 days afterwards.
  • Hello Mark, thank you for describing your experience & followup.  I'm very nervous because in 2-1/2  hours, I'll be having the same injection in the same lumbar area as yours, L5-S1. My sciatica  problem is from disc degeneration  and spondylosis (PT therapist said it's a fancy way of saying I'm getting old!)  
    I've read here that injections  are only about 50%  successful in relieving sciatic pain. I'm  hoping for the best,  for myself,  for you,  and for all the brave people  posting here who are living with chronic pain.   This is a great supportive community!

    This is my first  experience  with severe sciatica, I wouldn't wish this for anyone!  It's been horrible not being able to do simple daily things I used to take for granted.  It's only been since August for me,  getting worse until I had to leave work for awhile.  Since  I'm new,  not sure how to make the little signature block describing my condition &  treatments.  

    Mark, I do want to thank you for describing so well "what to expect"  when getting on that table,  and what comes afterward.  I will find out how to fix my profile before posting my "after"  updates.

    Thank you again,  and please keep posting your progress as we  are pretty much on the same timeline.  And I  will post mine.

    Good luck to you,  and please wish me the same! I feel a little less scared of that big old needle now,  if it may help at all it's worth it.
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