Epidural Steroid Injection

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Just comparing notes to others’ experience with my situation. Would appreciate anyone who could weigh in. I pulled my back lifting a neuro patient 7 months ago. I finally had my MRI two months ago for suspected L5S1 herniation after failed PT and no relief from any med (I used mostly NSAIDS, but I also have oxycodone which I use occasionally for an unrelated condition-when I used it for that condition it had absolutely no effect on my back, butt, or leg pain). 

The MRI came back negative other than a small bulge at the L3L4. The workers Comp doctor stated that I was fine, it was just muscle strain and I should do “work-hardening” PT for six weeks, then return to work without restriction. I asked to return to the physiatrist/pain specialist my pcp originally referred me to as I was having worsening symptoms with continued burning in my left lower back radiating to my butt and down my leg with pain in my foot and toes. I’ve also had pins and needles alternating with total numbness in my foot. I had a fall a few weeks ago when my foot rolled sideways. The physiatrist recommended an epidural steroid injection. I had it a week ago today hoping it would be the magic that would fix this. It has gotten progressively worse since the night of the procedure. When I called, they just said it was normal for symptoms to be exacerbated temporarily but, from what I’ve heard, temporary is only supposed to be a couple of days with the injections.

They’ve discussed repeating the MRI (which I’ve seriously questioned the results of based on my symptoms), and possibly doing further testing. This is crazy, not to mention excruciating. As of now, my diagnosis, per the physiatrist, is Intervertebral Disc Disorder.

Has anyone had a false negative on an MRI? I’m told that unless there’s extrusion of a disc, MRIs are only about 62% accurate. Also, I understand that the injections simply don’t work for some people and I knew that was a risk, but has anyone had progressively worse pain that didn’t resolve even back to their baseline after having one?

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  • Posted

    Hi Meri,

    I had an epidural steroid injection in February for lower back pain I have been experiencing for some time, I was getting to a desperate stage and was very keen to try this for similar to you what they have called just a slight disc bulge on L5 S1.

    Unfortunately I had a very similar reaction, I had a rough 2 weeks after that, my pain got worse and I really regretted getting it done. I do want to reassure you that this additional pain does settle down, I was worried too as they said maybe worse for a day or two but to be in agony for 2 weeks after it got me so down and worried and depressed - but the extra pain did lift after that. It just kind of went back to how it had been before, but I know they do work wonders for some people.

    But just wanted to reassure that this will ease off even though it's been longer than a few days - hang in there and thinking about you. I had to take best rest for 2 weeks, which was not nice at all lost a bit of confidence. Things will improve Meri thinking about you.

    Craig

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    • Posted

      Hi Craig,

      Yes, it is very discouraging. They want to do another one and I am not on board with that. Time for additional testing. I hope they’re able to resolve your pain for you and I really appreciate your taking the time to respond. It’s very reassuring to know that this should get better, at least from where it is now. Thinking of you, also. Thanks so much, 

      Meri

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the kind words Meri, I really appreciate it and really empathising going through back pain and how debilitating it is physically, mentally and emotionally too. Thinking about you too and really hoping and praying for a breakthrough and turning point for you, I'm going to see an osteopath type specialist today, tried one before but trying a different one really hoping it can help.

      Hang in there and remember the extra pain caused by the epidural will settle again, I was so panicked too that it wouldn't but I'm a few months down the line and it has settled thankfully. Yes I'm the same as you would be very very wary about ever getting another one again, only if I really really needed to I think. Hoping for a better weekend for you, hoping God pulls us through.

      Craig

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  • Posted

    Friend-has-the-same-as-you-and-now -waiting to have -the-op.

    I-too-have-slipped-discs-though-GP-refused-MRI-and-I-had-X-ray-only-as-thought-it-could-be-my-hip-and tried-to-send-me-for-physio.

    NICE guidance October 16 was no MRI, traction etc for lower back pain, ONLY PYSIO.  Some Drs are ignoring that but seem to be proving that most people the steroid injection does not work.  Another's 2nd injection didn't work either despite the 1st one doing so and he at 80 is waiting to see if the op is advisable for him or not.

    I found that PREDNISOLONE 5mg daily worked wonders for me and had the feel good factor but was refused a repeat prescription by nurse after 6 weeks.

    I am allergic to contrast dye and is usually used to see the sciatic nerve on MRI/CT.  Only a few people are allergic so you probably are not so could insist if you were not given it before?

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    • Posted

      Hi Diane and Craig, sorry for the delay, been a long month.  Hope you’re both feeling better. So I ended up at four weeks post injection with a baseline of pain double what it was prior to the procedure and the onset of new neuro symptoms. The pins and needles in my foot are now burning and often more pronounced at night. I’m sleeping less and the burning in my lower back is now in my butt, as well. The dull throbbing pain is still constant from back to foot. The physiatrist blew me off when I said the shot made me worse  and told me to tell my pcp to refer me to neuro. I am setting up an appt with one, but one new symptom has me concerned and I wondered if anyone else has ever experienced it intermittently. I have had no bowel or bladder issues and know that’s clearly an emergency symptom, but I get a heaviness/pressure and muted pain in my saddle region. Oh, and the doctors here are declining to do another MRI saying it won’t be different and they won’t use contrast here unless you’ve had previous back surgery.  I’ve also been reading up on upright or weight bearing/positional MRI. Have you guys had any experience with those? Studies had some telling results as compared with supine/neutral.
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    • Posted

      Hi Meri,

      So sorry to hear you are having these issues after epidural, I really empathise having went through a similar experience earlier in the year. My symptoms definitely got worse for a few weeks after the epidural, it did settle down again thankfully and really hoping the same happens for you, it is awful when you try something to help yourself and it makes it worse. The pins and needles I had with it settled down after a few weeks and returned to a more 'normal' level of back pain.

      Hoping things get better soon, really empathising. I've seen an osteopath lately which has helped stabilise things a bit, he recommended to me a book called 'Back Pain Decoded' by Robert Shanks. I haven't got it yet but the osteopath I'm with seems a pretty spot on guy so it might be worth getting this I'm going to do that myself I think.

      Hang in there and just hoping and praying for your recovery Meri, believing that God is going to pull you through - praying for His help today for you and everyone on the site going through terrible pain and times. Believing Jesus will heal us.

      Craig

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    • Posted

      I believe that too, Craig, and I will try to grab a copy of that book. Looking at herbs too. One day at a time. Thank you again, praying for you to feel better, also!
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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your prayers Meri, thinking about and praying for you too. Really hoping this setback from the epidural will settle, as you say it's just one day at a time - as it says in the Bible not to worry about tomorrow for today's trouble is enough for today.

      Thinking about you and still fully believing God is going to bring healing in your body and life. Hang in there for now though.

      Craig

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  • Posted

    I know a woman of 75 who experienced terrible pain with the epidural and is now awaiting the operation which is also an unknown outcome and some are worse afterwards.

    Also know a 26-year-old who had terrible back pain for over a year with no cause or cure found which suddenly cured itself.

    Oddly enough, I have had irritable bladder/urethra over the last few months which came and went.  Worse at night , waking every hour with the urge to go but hardly anything coming out.

    Already had a negative UTI test just 2 weeks ago, and then I did another one after a week of no problems and then the burning returned.

    Got a phone call from GPs yesterday to say they found a UTI this time and to collect a 3 day course of ABs prescription ASAP..

    I am continuing to lose weight through muscle wastage but still no MRI scan given.  

    This feeling of being "fobbed off" is soul destroying..  The Dr's excuse was that NICE made the rules as MRI scans don't show anything which is not true with everbody.  Not aware of the %s.

    I know also a 40 year-old who had 2 MRI scans which showed nothing and last time I heard he was waiting for an MRI with contrast dye.

    GP agreed to an ordinary bone x-ray which did show 2 discs fallen onto each other  and one was missing, but still said all I could do was Physio which i have rejected until an MRI shows exactly what is wrong.

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Yeah, I hear you. As soon as specialists hear it’s a workers comp situation they run in the other direction. I refuse to do more therapy without a diagnosis also. I don’t blame you. Praying for you to feel better and God to get us through all this. Thanks for getting back In touch.
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    • Posted

      So sorry to hear about the terrible time you have been going through Diane, really hoping and praying that things improve soon for you and that God guides the surgery so that it helps and makes a big difference - I really really hope and pray that Diane and thinking about you. 

      It's awful to go through back pain it really is. It's been one of the worst things I've went through and I know many people have it a lot lot lot worse than me, I've been lucky in lots of ways. Just praying God helps us all through and brings us back to full health and being pain free and able to live an active and liberated life thanks to Jesus.

      Thinking about you and hang in there.

      Craig

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