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  • Has anyone had a cortisone block for spinal stenosis?

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    Old 02-16-2001, 11:57 AM   #1
    Diane M
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    Has anyone had a cortisone block for spinal stenosis?

    On Valentine's Day (fun) I had a cortisone block for my recurring spinal stenosis. (Had a lumbar laminectomy 6 years ago and had no pain until last year. An MRI showed that bone spurs have developed in L1,L2,L3 and L5. The spurs press on the nerves and I have pain in my hips (mostly left) and down the outer sides of my legs to the ankle. Haven't found a pain pill that will do much good. Therefore, my doctor sent me to a spinal clinic and the doctors there felt further surgery wouldn't be a good idea. Don't know why. I'd be willing. Anyway, they suggested a cortisone block, which was done this week. It wasn't an epidural because the doctor came infrom the side and entered the hollow portion of L5. I had too much scar tissue for an epidural to work. Couldn't get the needles in there.

    The literature they gave me said not to expect complete relief for several days (maybe two weeks). I haven't had much relief yet, but I know the cortisone is in my system because my face is bright red, and that's one of the side effects. I'd really like to hear from anyone who has had either a cortisone epidural or a block like mine. I have no one to talk to about this----what to expect, how long it took for relief, whether there even was any relief. How long did it last? Etc.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me.

    Diane M

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    Old 02-16-2001, 12:41 PM   #2
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    Re: Has anyone had a cortisone block for spinal stenosis?

    Dear Diane M.: I am a 52 year old woman with back problems. I have had epidural steroid injections in L4-5, S1-2. I have also had the steroid injections into the facet joints in that area as well. I do get some pain relief from them and the relief (for me) lasts about 6 months and then the pain slowly begins to get more severe again. I still need the pain medications, but the steroids do bring my pain level down. I have arthritis (bone spurs) on my vertebre, as well as arthritis of the facet joints in L4-5, S1-2. The steroid injections work for some people, and yet I've read posts from others whereby they say the injections don't help. However, I have just learned some disturbing information about epidural steroid injections. There is a relatively new condition of the spine called arachnoiditis. I've heard that there is a general lack of awareness of this condition by many physicians. The causes (there are additional causes too numerous to mention, but these are what apply to spinal steroid injections and spinal myelograms) are epidural anesthesia analgesia, epidural blocks, spine surgery, and myelographic studies. Presently, surgery and meylographic studies are the most common causes. I really don't have the space here to discuss this condition; however, I suggest you go to your search on your computer and enter the word "arachnoiditis" and print an article and show it to your doctor. It is supposedly caused by dyes used in myelographic tests and injections of a steroid called depo medrol. There is a belief that the preservative in the vial of anesthesia may have been a causative factor. I plan to show my article I printed last night to my neurosurgeon on Monday when I see her for my appointment. This disease causes inflammation/swelling of the arachnoid membranes around the nerve roots in the spine. It also has later stages of progression. It is a burning type pain. Please find out about this condition from your doctor. I have found these injections have helped my low back pain the in past, but now I am wondering at what cost.

    Diane, I hate to be a bearer of bad news. It appears it may be that one type of steroid only; I really found the injections to drop my pain level, not remove it. However, I am rather disappointed about hearing of this condition. (I've had these injections on and off since 1993). I thought the FDA would have done better testing on that type of steroid. (and our government is worried about medical marijuana???? and they allow this type of junk to be marketed?????) I am sorry, but I am rather disgusted. I just felt you and anyone else that reads this post should be enlightened on this condition. Take care, PatG

    Old 02-16-2001, 05:47 PM   #3
    Diane M
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    Re: Has anyone had a cortisone block for spinal stenosis?

    Thank you for the quick reply, Pat. Sorry to hear of another person with back pain. Seems to be a lot of us, especially those of us over 50. I am 63, but was still active with 3-mile walks each day and snow skiing. Haven't done either of those things for over a year, and I miss being active.

    I was disturbed to hear about arachnoiditis. My doctors never mentioned the possibility. My local internist sent me to a spine care clinic in San Francisco (200 miles south of us) when I requested a third opinion. My original neurosurgeon and my internist read the MRI that I had scar tissue buildup causing my pain. The doctors in SF said it wasn't that, but more spinal stenosis. My local doctor said they are the best spine care clinic in the north state and that many sports stars go to them for their back care, so I'm hoping that means they really know what they're doing. I wonder if that condition is caused by shoddy work. I'm hoping that's so, as I can't do anything about it now. Will definitely talk to them when I go in for my appointment in March. Thanks again for your reply and good luck to you.

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