Epidural steroid injection after pain - help!!

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi there,

Looking for some help and reassurance if anyone has had a similar experience. I’m 36 and been suffering with back pain for about 8 months, had various scans and all they could tell me was a slight disc bulge at l5 s1. 

The pain was very annoying so doctor said I could have epidural steroid injection which was low risk. I had it one week ago and my pain has increased 1000 times since then, been in bed ever since lower back pain much worse and pain down my legs that I didn’t have before.

So down and depressed that I have made things much worse by getting this. I was hoping after a few days it would settle as I did read it could get worse for a day or two, but it’s been a full week now and in agony worried it’s permanent and painkillers not helping at all. 

Quite distressed just a wondering if anyone had a similar experience but it settled down after that? Thanks so much for anyone taking the time to read this and write to support. 


0 likes, 27 replies

27 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Craig I Had The Same Problem In 2016 had the same number discs but ended.up having a operation had the same pain but the doctors left me to long in pain and I ended up becoming incontented bowels and bladder no longer work has the discs damaged the nervous in my back so keep on to the GPS until you get help hope this reply help don't let the grass grow all the best Sarah x

    • Posted

      Hi Sarah Sorry to hear that you have this problem with your bladder and bowels. How do you cope with this?

      I wondered if you had had any pelvic floor exercises or core muscle exercises to help this problem . 

      Hope you do not mind my asking personal questions.  Thanks

    • Posted

      Was with a bowel and bladder care but haven't been for over 10 months because the bascial told me it a waiting game to see if the nervous repair them selves but nothing has improved has of yet and it's been 18 months now so not holding out much hope Sarah x

    • Posted

      Well I use catheters for my bladder and then I use a peristeen bag for my bowels at 43 yrs of age my world has been turned upside down get a me down some days but now much I can do xx
    • Posted

      Hi again Sarah I am so so sorry to read this. I was enquiring about how you dealt with the situation emotionally . I can understand how you must be feeling  and I just want to say that it is important to have hope.

      I was wondering if you could contact other doctors . I do not know where you are located so it is hard to advise you because I am unsure how many hospitals, specialists are near you.

      ​I would shop around and see what different specialists have to say and offer on this one.

      Tomorrow is another day and there is always hope. Have you been advised to take any magnesium or vitamin supplements such as Vit B12 . They work on the nervous system and the nerves and if your dr feels it is safe then he or she may allow you to take these supplements.

      ​Take care  xx.


    • Posted

      No haven't been advised about no vitamins but will give them a go and on a daily basis I just take one day at a time got 3 children so that helps me move on with things each day at a time thanks for the advice Harriet from Sarah xx

  • Posted

    I would suggest seeing a physio for a full assessment and seeking a second specialist opinion on this one. I would steer clear of surgery and keep to exercises if the physio feels this is the way forward. Take care.
  • Posted


    This sounds nasty. Very sorry.

    I have not heard of it happening before but it’s remotely possible that they hit the S1 nerve when they injected the steroids. They are supposed to get close but not actually make contact with the nerve. Did you get about 1-2 hours fine and then the pain started immediately after that?

    Does it hurt all the time or just when you move around or make specific movements?

    Does it hurt to lie on your back, and if so is it better when you lie on the opposite side to the pain?

    Have you consulted your doctor yet? If not then I would. 

    IF they did hit your nerve during the injection (and it’s very rare) then it’s probably going to hurt for a while. The nerve will take quite a long time to recover from even mild trauma. If things don’t start to calm down in another week (which is about as long as it can take for the steroids to work) then I would ask for some pretty full on anti-nerve pain meds like Lyrica to control the pain. 

    I have have about a dozen of these injections to calm my S1 nerve and into my SI joint and facet joints and while it always aches a bit for a day or so, it never made things worse for me. 

    Good luck. I hope it gets better soon.

    • Posted

      Michael Sorry to interject but I wondered if I could ask you a couple of questions plase. I have an annular tear between L4 and L5 , saddle numbness that progressed to peripheral neuropathy. I was told the PN was due to antibiotic toxicity by san endocrinologist.

      ​About four years ago things got steadily worse then in June started to improve. However I had a whiplash type injury in a faulty hospital wheelchair which worsened the back pain, peripheral neuropathy. over the last three days when I wake up in the morning \I am stiffer than usual, have hip pains and feel very low. Have u got any suggestions on how to deal with this or ideas why the pain has changed?

      I do not know whether to see a physio privately or if exercises will make things worse!!!!r


    • Posted

      That is quite a long way outside my experience tbh. 

      Generally I would say that physio is useful if gaining muscular stability is important to fixing the issue, and also if you are trying to gradually mobiles a specific joint. 

      The only other thing I would say is that I have had lots of issues with my SI joint after an op to stabilise my spine. Physio helped with that as in my case, getting more flexibility in my hip and surrounding muscles was important to correct the dysfunction, but I think that is very specific to me. 

      I have not found physio is a short term fix for any nerve related pain. It is a long term fix if it can help stabilise your joints with stronger fitter muscles that are better coordinated.

      I don’t know if that answers your question but HTH 

    • Posted

      Thank you Michael. I was just looking at the importance of hip flexor muscles and exercises. x
  • Posted

    HI everyone,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. Going back to see the consultant tomorrow so hoping some progress can be made. Feeling quite low and desperate so all kind words and thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. 

    Thanks Sarah Jane, Michael and Harriet. Hoping you guys get through your troubles too and thinking of you. 


    • Posted

      Thanks Harriet,

      Still in a terrible lot of pain 11 days after the epidural, worried it's going to be stuck that way. Any words of hope or reassurance would be greatly appreciated, or any stories of anyone who had this afterwards for a couple of weeks and it settled down would enocurage me!


    • Posted

      Hi Craig. I am sending o a PM to a link. The gist is that you need to tell your dr to check this out is not due to a infection. The sooner the better. The other reason for the pain is that the cortisone can form crystals irritating the tissue but it will ease off. However your dr needs to be informed as he or she may decide that injections are not adviseable,. Meanwhile try the usual methods of pain relief such as ice packs - small, bag of frozen peas or sweetcorn wrapped ina tea towel if no ice packs available. , tens etc.

      ?Don't worry it will resolve but see the GP ort at least request a telephone consultation and stress the amount of pain and would like an urgent appointment. Take care .

    • Posted

      Hi Craig

      Sorry to hear it’s still bad. What did the consultant say last week?

      As Harriet said, infection is a possible problem. Do you have any swelling at the injection site or fever?


    • Posted

      Thank you Harriet and Michael for your responses, I really appreciate them and thanks too Harriet for taking the time to send that link.

      I had a blood test a few days after the injection which ruled out infection. I did think in the first few days the cortisone crystals / flare may be a factor, but since it's been nearly 2 weeks I am thinking that's unlikely, I'm not sure?

      One other thing my MRI scan did show before the injection as well as a slight disc bulge at L5/S1 was a possible annular tear at L5/S1. The doctor didn't seem too concerned about this but he's not been a great doctor and just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on that?

      Thanks for everyone's encouragement and support - it means a lot I'm just quite distressed and upset about the ongoing pain at the moment.


    • Posted

      Do you have any weakness in the leg. Is the pain in the leg only or in the back as well, if so where?

      Does the pain get worse in certain positions or doing certain activities?

      Can you get a second opinion from a more senior surgeon or consultant?

    • Posted

      Thanks for taking an interest Michael, it is so kind of you.

      I have only really started having pain and neuralgia down the legs since the epidural really, I wasn't too bothered that way before then. Really hoping and believing this will settle. The pain can get worse if I'm doing too much or just doing anything really.

      Yes planning to get a second opinion from another consultant, need to wait a few weeks for that though.

      Thanks again and hoping that you are doing okay with your back problems at the moment too.


    • Posted

      Hi Craig I don't think you should wait to see a dr about this. Have you got any numbness in your bottom or any problems passing urine?

      ?Sorry to ask but if you do you should go to hospital to rule out caudae equinae.


    • Posted

      Craig I have PM you with a link to caudae equine. I suggest ringing 111 and getting a health assessment on your back. I am sure they will advise hospital or at least a visit from an Out of Hours GP to examine you. You really do need a rectal exam asap and MRI scan to exclude caudae equinae . You are not wasting the time of 111 etc. Pls pick up the phone . Sorry to be so pushy . Been there done it worn the T Shirt .
    • Posted

      You have pain in BOTH legs?

      Where exactly? 

      If you google “spinal nerve dermatomes” and look at the pics does the pain fit one nerve path or across multiple ones?

      Pain in both legs would not fit with the injection hitting a nerve as that would only effect one side. 

      Have they told you if the bulge is one one side or the other, or in the middle?

      If it’s on one side then it will only hit that leg. If it’s in the middle (which is less common) will effect both legs, but it should exactly match one nerve dermatome. L5S1 should manifest in the mid buttock, down the back of the thigh on on the back outer part of the calf, sometimes on the heel and outer sole of the foot.

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