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tom_g's avatar

Does anyone have experience with spinal injections?

Asked by tom_g (16585 points ) January 9th, 2014

If so, what was your experience like?

Was the process painful? How long did it take? When did you feel pain relief, and how long did the relief last? Also, did you experience any side effects?

Thanks.

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16 Answers

Pachy's avatar

I had one at a pain clinic years ago when I could no longer walk from the intense sciatic pain caused by a ruptured disc. The shot wasn’t fun but it was bearable. I walked in on crutches and left without them. Most of the pain was gone within an hour and never returned. That was so long time ago that I don’t recall what the drug was—cortisone, perhaps.

tom_g's avatar

Thanks @Pachy. How long had you been in pain from the ruptured disc before you decided to get the shot?

Pachy's avatar

I’d had spinal surgery about six months earlier and gone through physical therapy. The pain was mostly gone for a while but then it returned with a vengeance. A second operation was recommended. I refused that and tried the shot instead—and it worked! My ortho later doctor told me the cortisone or whatever it was had allowed the affected spinal nerve to settle down. I’ve never had sciatic pain since.

Juels's avatar

I’ve had 2 injections in my neck. I believe the injections were around c5. I have several bad discs and pinched nerves resulting in constant pain in my neck/shoulders and shooting pain in my arm. The first injection didn’t take but the second one did. For the first several hours, I was fine because the anesthesia was still working. By that evening the anesthesia wore off and my neck was very stiff and sore. It helps to nap a lot. It took a couple days for the stiff and sore feeling to wear off. Plan for the injection on a Friday so you can recover over the weekend.

I had the injections over a year ago and the shooting pain down my arm has not returned yet. They didn’t cure the neck/shoulder pain but did dull it quite a bit. I decided to try injections because I’m not ready for surgery yet.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I never found them particularly painful and have derived considerable benefit from them, especially in more recent instances.

JLeslie's avatar

My aunt did it twice. The first time the pricess was painful and gave her no relief. However, I should mention she takes very strong narcotics and her pain receptors are probably all messed up, plus she has a host of other physical problems. They convinced her to do a second spinal injection years later against her better judgement, because she knew the first one did nothing for her, and the pricess was painful, and now she has chronic nausea since the injection and no relief of her pain. The doctors tell her the nausea isn’t related. I believe her.

tom_g's avatar

Thanks everyone. I’m scheduled for 2 injections (one next week, and then one 3 weeks later).

Juels's avatar

@tom_g Good luck. I hope they give you some relief.

tom_g's avatar

Just got back from the first set of injections. That was not pleasant.

Juels's avatar

Did they put you under for them? Where in the spine did you get them?

tom_g's avatar

No, they didn’t put me under. It was at the L4-L5 (?). The whole injection process took about 1–2 minutes. It was so fast. The doc said he was about to do the injection, and then it went from painful to a sudden jolt of intense pain that went shooting down my leg. I let out a yelp, and he said it was normal.
After the injection, they had me sit in a waiting room and made sure I was able to walk about 10 minutes later before sending me on my way (with my ride). I get to go back for more in 3 weeks.

Juels's avatar

Ouch!!! I was lucky to be put under (probably because of the location of the injection). Take it easy for a few days. I bet your really not looking forward to the next injection.

tom_g's avatar

Well, the pain is pretty bad right now. But if this injection does its job (in 48–72 hours, apparently it should start to work), I hope to look forward to the next injection due to reduced pain. I think the next injection(s) is at L2-L3, maybe. My back is a mess.

Juels's avatar

Good luck. Let us know how the next one goes and if this one helps at all.

wildpotato's avatar

I used to do reception and billing for a neuro/pain specialist who does probably 200 spinal injections per week. He usually does a local anesthetic. As far as efficacy, he put our success rate at alleviating pain after the first round of shots at about 60%, I think. If the first round doesn’t work the recommendation is to go back in to try either one or two more rounds of different drugs, which end up providing relief for most of that remaining 40%.

tom_g's avatar

^ Good to know. Thanks.

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