Hi: I've had quite a few epidurals for pain. Some helped a lot, and some only helped a little. I have a pain mgte dr now that is really good at giving them without it hurting much, so I think it depends on who does it and their experience with them. I've had a couple that didn't help at all and hurt some and then about 6 that didn't hurt much and helped for awhile. I don't know anyone that gets indefinite help from them but I got relief from the last 6 for about 3 months.
I would do it again, just to get the temporary relief.
Good Luck, I hope the dr that's considering it has a good track record. One way of finding out is to talk to other patients of that dr to see what they say about his/her epidurals. They usually give you novacaine first so it doesn't hurt too bad.
I have a herniated disc and 2 bulging ones. The worst is in the L5-S1. I also have degenerative disc disease. I was diagnosed with this in June, 06 and was devastated about the DDD since I am only 29. I was in severe pain. I had 2 epidurals in August and they helped me tremendously. I haven't had to have the third in the series yet and am keeping it on reserve. I have been pretty much pain free since then. I have occassional days that are worse than others but NOTHING like the original pain. I was told one day it will come back so I am praying everyday I don't wake up in pain.
The injection honestly wasn't that bad. I am a major wimp about stuff like that so that says a lot. The dr. that performed it was good and gave me lots of local anesthetic. It was just unconfortable since I was so nervous about it. It wasn't "fun" but was definitely worth it. I was sore for a day or two afterwards but it wasn't any worse than I normally felt. I started to feel better after about 4 days.
So far they have been a lifesaver for me and I am hoping the results last as long as possible to prolong having to have surgery. Good luck!
My theory is that its just like you can get an awesome dentist or one that makes you hate them. My first go round made me hate them. When I went to a different place it was much better. Sadly they didn'thelp me. Good luck with yours we are all different. And I am a big wus!
Compared to some of the stuff we go through with these backs.. the epidurals are not fun, but you get used to them.
The first one.. hurt me so bad I could barely walk out of there. In fact it took me over 20 minutes to get to my car, when it only took me a few minutes to walk in.
BUT.. that is because I did not say anything when she was hurting me. She didnt numb me enough and I never said anything to her about it until I came in for my next epidural a few weeks later. I was shaking waiting. She asked me if I was cold for seeing me shaking. I told her yes I was freezing but that I was also scared and explained the above. She said I should have said something. I told her I didnt know. She said well, I promise I will numb you as much as I possibly can this time. AND she DID exactly that! It didnt hurt, and after, I even went and had lunch in a restaurant, went shopping and drove 1.5 hours back home.
After that.. I had my epidurals on my lunch hour at work and then right back to work!
As I said above, they still hurt, but you get used to them.
SI injections hurt more as they can only dumb the dermis/skin and nothing more. With an epidural, they can also numb into the tissue itself.
Some people get great relief and then some don't. I have had it both ways.
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
Just wanted to say how happy I was to hear your work are paying for you...what a relief that is!
I had a transforaminal injection (under CTscan) for left-sided foraminal stenosis at L5/S1. First was on Feb 5th. Next one is March 12 (apparently 4-6wks between them is standard, at least over here).
Here's the story:
Injection: I had gas (and was glad for it!) Needle in. Just a bit uncomfortable. Numbing agent/dye in. (I think). Very painful!!!!! All the way to the toes, tingling, stomach ache.. for a few minutes. I thought they'd hit the nerve, but apparently it was just the liquid hitting the nerve and filling what little space is there for the nerve. But once they'd found the spot, or the numbing had taken effect or whatever, it was fine, just a bit uncomfortable. I was shaky shaky after (gas or the shock, I don't know) but fine after about 20mins. Stiff sore back, leg numbness a bit. After about an hour, it came back much worse (like the stenosis pains but agony straight away in any position)and this lasted for a couple of hours. Could only lie on my belly (which isn't normally good for me, but was the same position as the injection).
Then it was pretty bad (but not as bad as after injection) for around 4-5 days, then things settled down to as previously, (stenosis pains still there on standing/sitting/walking) but without some of the sciatic pains I normally had in the evening and with a milder sharp specific stabbing pain I used to get on the left-centre side in my back.
Went back to work after 2weeks (normally I couldn't sit in a desk chair) and was tough for two days, then okay for two days. But friday was like before the injection (couldn't sit for very long at all) and since saturday the stenosis has been slightly worse than before. All the sciatic pains also came back that week, but the sharp pain remains disappeared.
So. In brief.
Injection. Very painful during and for a few hours after.
4-5 days of muscle soreness and back pain that I didn't have previously
then 1 week as pre-injection, but no/little sciatica.
Then 1 week (til today) of worse stenosis and sciatica is back a little (but then its never been that bad for me).
Hope I haven't put you off. The sooner you get the injection, the sooner you'll know how you get on with it. Many people have very positve experiences!!! and I'm still hoping the second has a better, longer lasting effect!
Good luck, let us know how you get on. When's your appointment?
I had another one yestersay and I can't figure out why all the fuss over this? The most painful thing might have been the IV needle, but that can't hurt too much, can it? I walked out of there and forgot to even put ice over the spot. By evening I was feeling great. So why would anyone be concerned over this little procedure? Get it done and don't worry about it.
I truly believe it depends on the doctor, the condition and the method. There's epidurals, transforaminals, SI injections and facet joint injections. There's scans and no scans. There's good and bad doctors. There's different levels of pain tolerance.
I had regular injections in my backside for nearly 10 years for contraception and have had multitudes of travel vaccinations, so Im not afraid of the big bad needle by any means and am quite used to the "pain/*****" of a normal injection and slight muscle soreness that come's after one.
For mine, it was nerve pain through and through. Same type as my normal pain but 10x worse (but once that stopped, like you say, it was no different from a normal injection).
Slabman - I'm so glad to hear yours have been great...It gives me hope that my first time I was just unlucky... Also, now I know what to expect I'm sure it'll be easier. How have they helped you since?
I suppose I would just say, it could be an experience between nothing to pretty painful - but it doesn't normally last even when its bad. Prepare for the worst but expect the best, as my mother would say.