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Epidural Steroid Injections

Started by 1782051118@facebook on 02/10/2014 5:16am

I had spinal fusion surgery on my neck C5-6, about 15 years ago. Now I have Cervical Spondylosis and Cervical Herniation in the disc above and below. The pain has been getting worse over the last few months with the last couple weeks almost unbearable. As an alternative to surgery, my doctor has ordered Epidural Steroid Injections. Looking for opinions on this.

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2 Responses


I just had my first ESI yesterday. It was recommended by my doctor, but I wanted the opinion of a spinal surgeon. The surgeon made the same recommendation. There's no easy surgical solution for my problem (which is in the lumbar area). I'm currently researching all of my options, but in the meantime, I agreed that the conservative approach is best. So I went for the ESI for immediate relief, and to get myself off the doggone pain medications (which destroy my productivity).

There is no question that the ESI is effective for me. Without pain meds, I had constant pain. The nature of my affliction is such that, for the past two years, I haven't been able to sit in a "normal" chair for more than 20 minutes without getting lumbar pain. For that time I've been using a hammock chair, which at least lets me work. But it's a nuisance.

The ESI got rid of virtually all of my pain (so far), and even lets me sit in an ergonomic office chair — something I haven't been able to do since 2012. But I still need to take breaks to put my spine in traction (I use an inversion chair) and then get horizontal for a while. I did that twice today, and I'll probably do it 3 times tomorrow. But the epidural has let me stop taking the pain meds, and that's a huge benefit. And if I were to go back to using the hammock chair, I'd probably have no discomfort at all.

The thing that bugs me about it is that it's strictly a palliative. It's providing purely symptomatic relief (which I welcome), but doesn't address the underlying problem. And according to other folks I know who've used ESI, it loses effectiveness after a while. You start out with maybe two injections per year, but then you need them more frequently, and eventually they're not very effective at all.

Obviously, I can't confirm that with my own experience, because I've just had my first injection. And not everyone responds in the same way. But, unlike surgery, it does have the advantage of NOT being permanent, and there's very low risk of complications. The worst-case-condition is that it won't be effective for you. But in that case you'll be no worse off than you are now. The best-case condition (and this is probably more likely) is that you'll get some significant relief.

Anyhow, ESI certainly provided me with a lot of relief, and got me off the pain meds. I know it's not a long-term solution, so I'm using the pain-free time to investigate other options.


Hi Tamilla,

I had 12 sets of steroid injections in my cervical spine a few years ago, none helped me. I eventually had anterior and posterior fusion at c3-c7 in 2009, with much relief. The injections do work for some people, just not me-most of my pain was discogenic (coming directly from the discs) so injecting the nerves further out didn't help me.

I tried injections again several years later just last year when I developed sudden severe lumbar pain. Stopped after 2 injections as they weren't helping at all, my L5-S1 disc was already completely disintegrated and the nerve root had bone resting on it constantly. Had fusion for it in September 2013 but turns out they forgot to remove the discs, just put in the hardware... so I'm getting opinions now on whether more surgery is needed.

I do know several folks who have found almost complete relief from steroid injections, and find the results last for a year at a time.

You may not know this, but the injections are considered one of the first lines of conservative spine pain treatment, and most insurances won't allow you to consider more advanced options until you've tried injections.

I hope you find the relief you seek-don't ever give up trying!!!

---pam, still trying after 15 years