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Steroid injections for back pain...

Discussion in 'Portland Region' started by Tromatic, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. I've given up, and am having the steroid injections for back pain. I've been resisting because I'm almost as afraid of needles as I am of spiders. I had a drug-resistant infected knee surgery some time ago, and was almost to the point of deep-vein IV's because my "regular" veins were blown out from the number of IV's. Still get the shivers over that, and needles are now something I do not like.

    Anyway, has anyone had it done for low-back issues and how did it turn out? I won't tell you the VA is doing it so I don't have to hear any horror stories.

    ETA: Oct 2 is the day!

    ETA: Done! Got there early, was on the table about 15 minutes after I was supposed to show up. I got to keep my shorts on, which was a bonus. I had the spinal facet joint injections, so there were three on each side my spine, lower back. The lowest injections hurt like a mo-fo, but I'm a wimp when it comes to that sort of thing. If I have it done again, I know what to expect.

    Felt great after, due to the anesthetic. How awesome it would be if the actual relief it was anything like that fer' real. Stiff and sore now, but can actually get up out of a chair without real pain. Fingers crossed, because it's supposed to be a day or two before the steroid is effective. Having a few hours of just a little back pain reminded be of just how badly it SUCKS.

    Props to the VA, too. Nothing but praise for them.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  2. So you're having an ESI (epidural steroid injection). Common procedure. I've ordered a ton of them. If the target tissue of pain is coming from the area of the injection, you should get nice relief. What symptoms are you trying to get treated?


  3. Pain, stiffness. Mostly the pain. I have stenosis and a warped disc (I never thought of it in MC terms before!) L4/L5 region. It's not my spine that hurts, it's everything else around it. Done most everything else, and I can't stands no more! It's really wearing me out.

    I had good luck with steroids in a wrecked joint in my foot, so I'm hoping this works to. I'm just so freaked out by the thought of it.....
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  4. RedKat600

    RedKat600 Vintage Screwball Staff Member

    My Dad had this was the Cortisone injection for a herniated disc. That was over 15 years ago, and he's been fine ever since. It took a day or two to work well but in the end it was night and day!
  5. I looked into it for my arthritic neck issues and a slight bulging disc but I had a family member who went in for the cortizone shot . The doctor who inserted the needle hit a nerve and it really messed him up . It froze up his whole left side like he had a stroke and colapsed a lung :scared . I decide NO THANKS to having a needle stuck in my neck .

    Maybe that back is alittle different but still ........ is it worth the risk ? Have you tried other methods like maybe an inversion table , Chiro or Osteo care ? Accupuncture ? Surgery should always be a LAST option . Good luck cause I also deal from back issues and pain isn't fun .
  6. i have the same thing .but to include my neck mid hi and lower back ... .. chiropractic help is seeming to assist in the not so stiff and sore back .. also do some occupational therapy suck as small targeted workouts.. and no im not talking WORKOUTS lol .. im talking stretched and other small easy things to do .. i had a air force dr FUCK me up ... all because he was getting out tf the military .. yes the va will pay for chiropractic therapy ask me how i know..... p.m. me if ya want any info on this stuff and ill give ya my number so we can talk ...
  7. The thought of needles anywhere near the wiring harness gives me the creeps. Talked to Dr. Dave, thanks for the info!
  8. I herniated the disk between the L4-L5 vertebra almost 10 years ago. That was the most AMAZING pain I've ever felt! Lots of cardio, lots of stretching, lots of PT, lots of chiropractic, and lots of massage. I'm ok about 85% of the time, the other 15% I can fake it. I was (and still am) terrified of back surgeries. Good luck with the shot.
  9. +1
  10. I had the shots to L4/L5 about a month ago. It didn't help me because I actually have Avascular Necrosis of the femur heads, which is a whole other thing. About the shots: the worst pain in the whole procedure was when they took the stint out of the back of my hand. It was truly no big deal. Just lay there and relax. I hope that it helps you. It looks like I'm going to need 2 total hip replacements.
  11. I'm going in soon to get one in my right shoulder. After getting rear ended on my bike my shoulder has been giving me issues.
  12. First let me say that I’ve had the majority of my health care at VA facilities since 1970. I have nothing but good things to say. Though I’ve always had health insurance and can go where I choose, I’ve stayed with VA for almost all my health care, not only for the service connected injuries. I’ve had two surgeries at the Seattle VA Hospital both with excellent outcomes.

    I had a severe spinal compression from a crash in Vietnam. Since then I’ve had a lower back ache that only got worst over time especially after turning 50. Several years ago I had an MRI at VA which showed 3 herniated discs, (one had a huge bulge) and some narrowing of the nerve canal.

    The MRI led to a trip to the pain clinic. Here are my observations.

    Instant 100% Short Term Pain Relief.
    Reduced Pain for 3-4 Weeks
    Diminished to Somewhat Diminished Pain for about 2 to 3 Months

    Radiation Exposure as they take several X-Rays to Properly Locate Needle
    Relief is only Short Term

    You can have up to four treatments per year but that’s four radiation exposures and four steroid injections, neither of which is good for you.

    Seven or eight months after the pain treatment the large herniation blew out shortly after a cross country flight. Pain was excruciating and I was mostly bedridden. I knew of a neurosurgeon at Swedish Hospital with an excellent reputation and chose him to work on me. When the disc blew it packed the nerve canal with fibrous debris. He had to dig it all out, much of it be feel. He saved what was left of the disc and there’s about 70 percent left.

    There was what I felt a long recovery time but my lower back no longer aches at all. There is no morning achiness and I have great flexibility. The back virtually 100 percent. I recently did a 600 mile day on one of my Buell’s.

    Based on my outcome and knowing what I know now about back issues, I would forgo the pain clinic, have an MRI and seek out an experienced neurosurgeon.
  13. Make sure your sacro-iliac joint(s) have been assessed. pm sent.
  14. Thanks, all. I should have used a smiley for the VA comment, as I have nothing but praise for them. My Doc is awesome!
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  15. I have 2 chronic lower back conditions: Spondylolisthesis at L5 and ruptured disc due to the Spondylolisthesis. I had discectomy surgery a few years ago to remove the ruptured disc fragments, but that didn't help much as the Spondylolisthesis was still the major cause of my pain (vertebrae has physically moved over time, narrowing up my spinal canal)

    I was given 3 options:
    - fusion surgery at L4-L5-S1, which scares the crap out of me.
    - physical therapy (which was not effective for my pain - I tried many months of therapy with no pain relief)
    - steroid injections

    For many years, I just dealt with the pain, it was bearable. A few months ago, the pain started to increase. My doctor prescribed me a week of oral steriods, and that helped the pain immensely - it was pretty much a pain free week. That led me to believe that steroid injections would help if put in the right place.

    The first injection was put into the L5-S1 level, which provided no pain relief. I had a second injection, this time at the L4-L5 level, and that injection provided significant pain relief. As a result, my 3rd injection was put into the L4-L5 level again. That was last Friday. We'll see how it turns out, but judging from the results of the second injection, I expect more relief to come.

    I guess the moral of the story is, if you decide to go with injections, don't give up after the first one. It is a bit of trial and error on the doctor's part to find the exact place causing the pain as it is not always obvious.

    Good luck, whatever you choose. Chronic back pain is no fun. I know that eventually I'll probably have to have fusion surgery, but I'm trying to put it off as long as possible.

    *EDIT* - I wouldn't worry too much about the needles. I am deathly afraid of needles, and the worst part of this procedure was the IV in my arm. For the actual procedure, I was partially sedated so didn't even feel the needles going in my back.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  16. erickb

    erickb Mr. PNW Riders 2007

    I have an open fracture at the L5-S1 refused fusion in the Miltary and refuse it now and refuse to let anyone at the VA work on my back! Oh and I work at the VA Hospital Seattle/AMLK (for real) :shock: good luck to ya!
  17. I have had the shots before due to a pinched nerve in my L4/L5. I have 2 degenerative disks and work in the automotive industry, so I'm always lifting or leaning over the engine bay etc. They gave me the shots on Dec 14th 2011 and since then I have been about 98% pain free. I haven't had any issues with recurring back pain either. I guess some of it could be me changing the way I lift heavier things now. I had tried many options for about a month before I finally got the shots in my back, which was the only thing that took the pain away. I would say go for it, just be aware that if your insurance isn't that great you may have a hefty bill to pay. All together after insurance my tests and prodcedures that I had done cost me about $1600 out of pocket.
  18. Please do shitloads of research on doc's before you commit. This year I made friends with a person who rode for years. He chose to do the fusion surgery and it didn't go well. He is now on permanent disability with constant pain.

    23 years of the same job constantly lifting twisting and bending has done me in. In in the same boat as some of you. Degenerating discs, Several Bulged discs, annular tare, and arthritis.

    Oh yea it's real fun now that I've been laid off because I can't produce the amount of work that I used to. SAIF is denying that my work had anything to do with it. The IME they sent me to is saying that it's because I've got bad genes. I'd like to see anyone or ANYTHING do the same physical labor job for that amount of time and not have a problem.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  19. I have spinal steroid injections a couple times a year. (past 3 years)

    Short version....I recommend it
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