lumbar epidural steroid injection?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia and ME & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' started by Shar2, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. Shar2

    Shar2 New Member

    I went to my first pain clinic visit today. The doctor recommended a lumbar epidural steroid injection to reduce inflammation in my spine and thus reduce my pain level. Has anyone had this done? Does it hurt? Did it help? Any info. would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Xausted01

    Xausted01 New Member

    I've had a few of them done. They are a hit or miss type of thing, in my opinion. It depends on how good the doc is at doing them.

    I think that it is worth a try. It won't give you 100% relief, and it is temporary. The longest that I've had one help is about 3 months. That was the best one.

    If you do decide to try it, there are some things that you can do to help it. After you get it done, plan on going home and lying down for the rest of the day. They will tell you that it isn't necessary, but it does make a difference. If you allow the medicine that is being injected to stay where they put it, then it will absorb better. If you hurt on one side more than the other, then try to lie on that side as much as possible that day.

    Some things you can expect is...
    *you may get a headache right after. It's normal, so don't let it alarm you.

    *You will want to eat the side out of the house for a couple of days from the steroids. Have the house stocked! :)

    *You will be a little sore the next day. Take your meds, and put ice on the injection site. This does help.

    Just remember that everyone is different. I figured that it was worth a try, and I have had successes with them. Remember that these docs do these everyday, and it's not as scary as it sounds.

    Good luck! If you have any more questions, just ask!

    Sheri
  3. redwing074

    redwing074 New Member

    I've had two series of epidurals. They didn't take my pain away, but they definitely alleviated it.

    Here's my list of tips:

    1. Make sure your doctor puts you out and does it under x-ray. Believe it or not, there is a pain specialist near me that does it with nothing to numb the pain, and let me tell you they use a BIG needle.

    2. Get an appointment for early in the day, if they knock you out you have to fast, and well you know how far behind doctor's offices can get.

    3. Definitely plan on going home and doing nothing. That's what my doctor prescribes. Not to mention after the first one you may feel like you are high/drunk.

    4. Have Tylenol on hand for the first 24 hours. It gives a different kind of pain, and my specialist said your regular pain meds won't help. (A bag of frozen peas will feel great on the site too)

    5. You will be hungry. I was hungry for months. Stock up on healthy munchy snacks, or you can pack on some pounds.
  4. Jean C.

    Jean C. New Member

    Hi,I see a pain dr.

    I did take shots. One every month for 3 months. I got very little relief from pain compaired to side effects.

    Somewhat painful when injected. I gained weight fast got moon face-steriod look. I lost hair. Did not feel well.

    I will only take again if I am bed fast.

    Please take this as my experience as you know everyone has different reaction to meds. Jean C.
  5. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member

    Dear Shar2:

    I agree that they are hit or miss. Your doctor's ability and experience are key. Find out how many such procedures he has done. Ask about complications. Ask about a treatment plan. My experience with epidurals was that they worked to relieve some of the most troublesome of the pain and electrical zaps and burning scitica I had. The bad part was that I had far too many (between 50-75) over about 2 years. I also have a messed up spine...and all xrays and mris and cat scans showed problems that could have been treated well with epidurals. UNFORTUNATELY, I also had FMS and this was not the best treatment for FMS. I will say that if it decreases your overall pain, then it is worth a try.

    This procedure has really come a long way in the 15 years since I had my first one. First one I had was in a hospital (I had to check in for the day). It was done by an anesthesiologist and I was sedated and had to stay in the pre-op room for a total of about 12 hours. The lidocaine helped right away, the numbness (for about 12 hours after) was welcome and the reduction in the "nerve pinching pain" was also welcome. Lasted for about 6 weeks. Which was okay, as I was able to do more p/t for other problems with my spine (lumbar, thoracic and cervical). Once you have a good outcome, your doctor may be more likely to do another one...and another and another. Depends on what your xrays and scans show as far as things that could be causing your pain. I hope that they are not advising the shot for generalized trigger point FMS pain?

    I will not go into detail, but there are some serious complications that could happen. Also, the second time that I had a series of epidurals done it was done in a pain clinic, without sedation, and I was allowed to go home in about 2 hours (depended upon how I felt after). I was able to drive myself home (usually on a friday afternoon) and spent the weekend with ice on my back and was able to return to work on Monday am...feeling pretty good.

    The third series of shots that I had were done at a pain treatment center at Centinella hospital. New technology (cryo and fluoroscopy) really made it a precision science. I could get more than one injection at a time and the only bad part was when they had to find the correct spot by poking around until I got my electrical ZAP. The Zap meant that they were in the right place, and these injections lasted the longest. Nothing was permanent, except the cryo, but I have side affects from that as well.

    All in all, I would still suggest that people try at least one or two shots. If you have never had a needle in your spine....you might have a tough time with it, but if you can get past that, you might find a great deal of relief.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Ingrid
  6. booboo56

    booboo56 New Member

    I also have started going to the pain clinic. He suggested the epidural, so I figured it might help, since nothing else seems to be. He did not put me under, it hurt, and it also did nothing to help, if anything I hurt more? But maybe it would help you. I go back to the pain clinic Tuesday and am going to tell him I do not want that done anymore. I'm hoping he can suggest something else.
    Good luck & God bless,
    Joan
  7. JLH

    JLH New Member

    series of 3 lumbar epidural spinal injections. I did not get them for the fibro, but for my back problems.

    As everyone has said, each person is different.

    To me, they did not hurt. I was numbed in the area of the injection. You felt a funny sensation when the medicine was injection, but that's all.

    I did not hurt in the injection area afterwards, I did not gain any weight, and I did not feel hungry for weeks like others have said.

    The first shot worked wonders for my back pain for about a month. It did nothing for my fibro pain. The second and third shots did nothing to relieve my back pain.

    Since the shots were expensive (even though my insurance paid for them) and they did not help enough, I do not plan on getting them again.

    The best treatment that I find is walking around in a warm water pool (4 foot of water minimum). I used to take the arthritis aerobic water classes and need to get started back with them. Staying in the warm water for an hour or so really makes a difference--it's so relaxing!!
  8. redwing074

    redwing074 New Member

    Was anyone else put to sleep for the epidurals? When mine were done, they would take me into the surgery room in the clinic, I would lay on my stomach, face down, and the doctor would come and poke to see where I hurt the most. Then they would inject something into the iv they put in beforehand, and I'd be out in seconds.

    They give just enough to put you out for the procedure, and then they start waking you up right afterwards in the recovery room. I can't imagine getting that done while still awake. They don't even uncover the needles at my clinic until you are out.

    My mil has had them done where they use nothing but a little lidocaine to numb you first, and she said it's excruciating. The needle is huge, and I'm guessing it feels like the epidural they give you before a c-section, and those suckers hurt bad.
  9. moxiepup

    moxiepup New Member

    Hi my experiences were more along the lines of JLH, the first 2 worked so so, they injected T11&T12, no sedation, wow I wish they did knock me out.

    The third one was a disaster stuck me like 8 times, my back was too swollen to get the needle through. I'm not telling you this so you won't have it done, so please go for it.

    I was used to needles in my back as I had a spinal fusion in my 20"s in the day when they kept you in the hosp., for like 3 wks.

    Please if you are going to have this done, make sure it is an anestologist (jeez sp.) they are def. the best with placement of the needles.

    I've had both trigger point injections for Sciatica from an Ortho and the Epidurals from the Anes., and the Anes., was far the better of the two.

    I drove myself home, just laid around and put ice on I was fine the next day...Why didn't I get hungry hmmmmmm...gail
  10. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    As a doula attending women in labor I have seen many epidurals. Probably about 1/2 have had some type of complication. Some were minor, some were life-threatening.

    The side effects I know of personally are:

    Partial paralysis (depending on where on the spine the damage occurred). Usually this goes away over several months.

    Reaction to anesthetic or analgesic used. Minor reactions are usually treated with Benadryl in the IV.

    Drop in blood pressure (in one case the mother and baby almost died because it was so severe).

    Meningitis. This can be from bacteria or it can be something called chemical meningitis. Both can become life-threatening very quickly.

    Severe headache. This occurs when the dura is accidentally punctured and spinal fluid leaks out. Most anesthetists can tell if this happens at the time, but there may be a delayed response. If it does occur you can get a blood patch - they draw some of your own blood and inject it back into the space to allow it to clot and stop the leaking of spinal fluid.

    Back pain. Many women have chronic back pain after an epidural. I suppose it's nerve damage but most doctors will not acknowledge the association.

    Read over the consent form very carefully. It lists the possible complications. I have heard nurses, doctors and anesthetists tell people that those things almost never happen but they have to put it in there for legal purposes. I can assure you it does happen, more often than you would imagine.

    I never discourage women from getting epidurals. It's not my pain and I respect their choice. For many it totally changes the perception of the birth and gives them a wonderful experience instead of hours of trauma and pain.

    In your case it may be the best choice for your pain and inflammation. And if it works well you will be very grateful for the technology that allowed you a reprieve. Just be sure you understand that there are risks and they do need to be taken seriously.

    Jan
  11. basethound

    basethound New Member

    I wouldn't have a epideral for a million dollar's in cash I had one and couldn't move felt like labor, I got up to walk my lt leg had severe pain and my back, I left limping, was sick with pain and a sever headache for about 4dys couldn't sleep went to er had to have a blood patch spent 3dys in hospital it was a yr ago in feb my back/leg has hurt 24/7 nothing helps my leg pain, I can't stand or walk without sitting down every 10 min but people at the pain clinic has told me they do help,my doc told me he won't give them in pts who have fibro, good luck Barb[This Message was Edited on 06/11/2004]
  12. Des2nee

    Des2nee New Member

    Keep in mind we all are different in our experiences. Mine was a bad one. I was not sedated before mine. I was however "numbed" before hand.

    I went through only 2 out of the 3 injections. I was also having trouble with sciatica (sp). After the first injection I was in so much more pain than what I had started with. I gave it one more try. I can no longer walk through the grocery store...I now use a scooter. I can no longer take walks. Walking from the couch to the bathroom can be agonizing at times.

    I did nothing but get worse. We decided against the 3rd try. I used to be on Darvocet for pain. I now am on Zanaflex, Darvocet and Duragesic Patch...with little to no relief.

    I wish you relief with yours. Just needed to add my 2cents. Maybe you can find the advice I received before I went through mine. I believe the title was "Epidural Steroid Injections"

    Best wishes,
    ~Des
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    One, possible complications; and,

    Two, steroids in the system.

    We each have to weigh the potential risks versus the potential benefits and we are all different. If you decide to do this, I pray it helps you.

    Love, Mikie
  14. lesleywh

    lesleywh New Member

    i have had two injections and all they really did was allivate my left leg pain my back pain became worse and remains worse. i also gained weight 65lbs. which added addtionsl stress to my joints. still in agony trying to get the weight off. water therapy is the only thing that seems to help me at all.
  15. jolynnboninwhite

    jolynnboninwhite New Member

    I had one a month for three months which helped for about three months but then I got a lot worse.they didn't hurt and I didn't notice any side effects,but ended up having surgery nine months later which helped a lot.(spinal stenosis)
  16. Shar2

    Shar2 New Member

    Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I think I'm going to do a little research and educate myself before I jump into this.
  17. yungathrt

    yungathrt New Member

    I've had several injections done - some at a pain clinic in WI and, most recently, in SC. I have had excellent results from all of them. Like most have already said - they are not a "cure" but when we are in that much pain, any time span to be free of that pain is worth it. Also, I was offered the opportunity for general anestesia but thought it brought more possible, serious, side-affects and opted out. I don't know anything about the size of the needle because I didn't look but the pain was very minimal. They always injected the site with numbing meds. first and it was all over so quickly. I would say, give it a try!
  18. kredca4

    kredca4 New Member

    The last time I had an Eppaduril, I was flat on my Back for 3 weeks, the Holes wouldn't heal in my Spine from the Needles they used.

    I am being sent back to see the only Pain Dr. that my HMO cover's, but it's just for a Consualtion, so that my PCP will be able to put me on a higher dose of Pain med.
    Good old Govt. red tape, ya know?

    Last year when I saw this Pain Dr. he got Mad because I couldn't have the Injection's, I had medical edvadience with me, and he Personally know's the last Dr, who did the Horrible Spinal.
    The Dr. tried to put me on the "Patch" but I sweat it off when Im sleeping, and what Med,. (Fental) did manage to get through to my System, made me feel so Weird, that I couldn't even think. I just layed in bed. Cryning.

    Took 3 months for me to get back to where I was able to function on my Vicodins. The Pain Doc,. said no to them while on the patch. Then when it didn't work, he gave me Vicodin's 5oo every 4 hours. I was so mad, because this was a Lower Dose than I was use to.

    So My Rheumy Doctor, called the PCP and The Pain Dr. and they agreeded to put me back on the 750's, 1 every 4 hour's, but I find that every 5 works the best.

    Then the Pain Doctor said don't come back go to the PCP. Wonder how he'll act when I see him on Wed.????

    I am concerned about the amount of Tyleonl in my system, and I would like to beable to take something else, as long as it either, Helps my Pain with no side effect's and there's less Tylenol in it.

    I can't take asprin based med.s or any of the Anit-Inflammatory med.s I had a shot of Cortizone (sp?) and it made me have Hives, and swelling at the sight of injection.

    When I had my son back in the "71", I was given an Epudiral, I was screaming for one, lol, But afterward's, I noticed I had back trouble. I chalked it up to a previous Car accident. Now I know better, after the other Experience,s with Spinal Taps, and a MyleoGram, which laid me up. It was probably the FMS/CMPD just undx at the time.

    I haven't a lot of other Choice's because of the complations of having both FMS/CMPD.
    We do not do well with these Injection's. Not even Trigger Point, if it help's then you are the Exception to the FMS/CFS people who can't and shouldn't have them.

    Thank God and I do, that I have other Doctor's, my Othropedic and Rheumotologist, who are on my side about, No Injections in my Back/Spine.

    I also have Spinal Stenosis, and DDD, and the disc's at C4/5/6 can't be operated on because of another NeruoSergons error. I had a C7 surgery on myneck, didn't go well, they Tore my Rotator Cuff.
    The New NeruoSurgeon is also afarid to Operate, because I don't Heal right afterward's. I grow Scar tissue like crazy.

    Still can't use the Right hand, Had CT surgery, can't use the right arm, I have had 2 Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery's, left knee, still has the same Pain as before the Artiscopy Surgery, took me 6 months to be able to Bend the knee, and I had 18 months of PT through all of this.

    Wow, where did all this Me, Me, Me, come from?
    I guess I'm more Nervous about seeing that Pain Dr. on Wed.
    Even tho I have Tons of Printed info for him to read, lol, lol.

    Good luck to you, this is something that we won't agree on, because, some of us have Co-exisiting Condition,s and we also respond differently, at time's, to Different Treatment's.

    It's a real Trial and Error thing, (I've been through enough, Error's thank you Dr.s)

    Sincerely,
    sharonk