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  1. #1
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    Default Cortisone injections to deal with a herniated disc? UPDATE post #19

    COTHers, I need your collective wisdom, please!

    Does anyone have experience with getting injections after a herniated disc (L5-S1)? I got sidelined in August with this, got sent home from doing research in Madagascar in October, and now after a month of PT, still am not seeing any improvement. My doctor arranged for me to get cortisone injections next week, so here is my question for those of you who have gone through this before:

    What should I expect? I'm 22... I've never had to deal with stuff like this.

    Did you find that you could return to normal activity fairly soon after your injection(s)?

    Did it work for you, or did you end up having to have surgery? This is my last option before we have to consider surgery, and given that it would be my third surgery in 2 years, I'd like to avoid that...

    Thanks!
    Last edited by supershorty628; Dec. 10, 2013 at 09:47 AM.



  2. #2
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    Not quite the same, but I got a cortisone shot in my rear end this spring, near the sciatic nerve. After the shot, I had to rest for 5-7 days, which I understand is common. Then I ramped back up.

    The shot worked for about 6 weeks, and then wore off. My understanding is that it works well for problems where inflammation is perpetuating a problem - if you just remove the inflammation, the problem heals itself. But not for more structural issues.

    Keep in mind that there's all sort of different types of mixtures (cortisone is just the basic term) and so the compound used on you might be different (and last longer).



  3. #3
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    I don't know anyone as young as you are that has had the injections, but do know 2 older (50+ ..cough, cough) people that did, and had good results. I'm not sure exactly which discs were problems for them, but both WERE lower back. I've had the cervical series twice in my neck, with no relief unfortunately. I also had bone spurs and degenerative disc disease along with the bulging discs.

    I hope you haven't already had 2 surgeries on your back!
    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

    What's the status on Tuco?



  4. #4
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    Are you having your facets injected or an epidural?



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toadie's mom View Post
    I hope you haven't already had 2 surgeries on your back!
    No, thank goodness, knee and shoulder..

    Laurierace, I actually don't know... will find out.



  6. #6
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    Didn't help my herniated disc (L5-S1) when I had mine injected. Everyone's back is different so your results may be different. I hurt like hell for a year and did every conceivable treatment: PT, caudal epidural injections (up my tail bone..ugh), steriod injection into disc, predisone, and finally, a laminectomy/discotomy surgery. Only the surgery and core strength has kept me pain (ish) free.

    Have you had an MRI?
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  7. #7
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    Awww, I'm so sorry. You poor thing. Soft hugs to you. Unfortunately, I hurt a few lumbar discs at work in early August, also. It is miserable. I had the cortisone epidural about a week ago. I'm finding it's pretty great (said hesitantly as I'm so hoping it continues). Are you having sedation (basically being put out for a few minutes) or awake? Where is most of your pain - back or leg? I went for the sedation as I didn't want to take the chance of moving while they had a needle in that area. The first day or two, I felt pretty significant pressure in that area which is understandable. Things have gotten better each day since. I'm really grateful. I'm early 50's, just fyi. The sedation was easy and I got a little something when I got there to relax me, as I was nervous. (You can ask for that.) Please keep us updated.



  8. #8
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    I had two Epidural injections for herniated discs on lower backs. The first took away about 60% of the pain and the second one about 30%. The injury occured precisely one year ago, right smack before Thanksgiving. At this time, I still have residual pain but that pain is lessened greatly with good Yoga stretch. My left leg is still weaker than the right due to atrophy from pinched nerves. The atrophy isn't visible but as a rider I can feel the difference. I'm working to gain the strength back. Oh, make sure to find a good physical therapist. A good one makes a huge difference.



  9. #9
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    I have spinal stenosis (narrowing) at L3, L4, L5, S1, and a bulging disc at L4. I've had it for more years than I'd like to remember. I've had no end of facet injections and root blocks over almost 14 years (no more than twice in one year). I am awake for every procedure, and while it's not a walk in the park, for me, the worst aspect of having the injections is getting onto my stomach in preparation for the procedures (it's a position that exacerbates my back/leg pain). The injections can be completely worthless at times, and miraculous at other times. My present practitioner is brilliant and I trust him implicitly. The procedure is done radiographically-assisted so as to pin point the precise position in which to inject the mixture of anaesthetic and steroid. I am sure that if I didn't have dogs, horses, donkeys, sheep, and chickens, the effects of the injections would last a whole lot longer than they do (come to think of it, if I didn't have my zoological park I wouldn't have a bad back!). I've had several years go by before I've aggravated my back enough that I need to return for more "back nectar." I've been trying to avoid surgery because I've been warned that surgical intervention can remove one pain only to be replaced by another. FWIW, months and months of physio did nothing to help me.

    OP, I'm assuming you have had an MRI. You are so young, perhaps your age and fitness will work in your favor if you have to go down the surgical route. Have you been told about the possibility of laparoscopic discectomy? Having the injections could, also, give you the relief you need to get on with your life, at your very tender age. I wish you all the best of luck. Keep us posted.



  10. #10
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    SO sorry this has happened to you! Everyone's back is different and it injections do seem to help some people for a while but not really a long term thing. I was 23 when I first ruptured a disc at L5/S1, not sure how it happened but it did. I had pain (sciatica) but I could still get around pretty good. I never did any injections but instead opted to have the surgery (micro discectomy). Was back to riding again 2 months later.

    Fast forward 2 years later and the same disc re ruptured, except this time, it was worse. I could barely walk without shooting, stabbing pains down my leg, sometimes I had to crawl around the house. I had to take a bunch of painkillers to even get through the MRI as I could not lay down flat without extreme pain. I had the surgery once again but chose a different orthopedic doctor, I chose one that worked with athletes and was very up to date on technology. After the 2nd surgery, I did not ride for 4 or 5 months because I was so nervous about the disc, I wanted to be sure everything was healed before I sat in the saddle again. It has been 4 years now and back is doing fine (I ride daily) but I always feel like it is a ticking time bomb ready to explode again.

    Core strength is the key to keeping your back strong, I wish the 1st doctor would have told me that. I was young and did not know. Every now and then, I will have a flare up and have to not ride that day. If my disc ruptures again, my options are limited to a fusion or a disc replacement, neither of which I want.

    Best of luck to you if you end up doing the surgery. Its not so bad but give it the proper time to heal before you ride again. They will want you up and walking a few days after the surgery. Since the surgery, I try to stay off any horses I deem "crazy" or "unpredictable" as I don't want extra trauma to my back. I never ride without stirrups anymore or lift anything heavy. You just start to become more mindful about how you treat your back. So sorry this happened to you, I have been there and it is frustrating. You will get through it though! Stay strong and keep your head up!



  11. #11
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    Well, that was unpleasant. Here's hoping it works... the doctor I saw today said that if it gets any worse, surgery is really my only option.



  12. #12
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    What did you have done? Did it feel better while it was numb?



  13. #13
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    I had the cortisone injection. It hurt, I was not a fan (although watching the needle going in on an x-ray was sweet!!). Didn't really feel better while it was numb, sadly. Lot of pressure now so I'm supposed to avoid being vertical for the remainder of the evening...we'll see how it feels in a few days.



  14. #14
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  16. #16
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    I did that (L-5, S-1) disc and the injection did nothing for me. I was scheduled for the surgery on thanksgiving monday (lol anniversary today). I had to judge a show the weekend before, and was contemplating cutting my own leg off it hurt so bad. They put me up at a hotel that had a killer jacuzzi in the room, lo and behold, 2 nights in the jacuzzi and I was able to cancel the surgery. Doc said it can help that much on some people.
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  17. #17
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    Good Luck, Supershorty! I hope the injection provides you relief. If it helps, injections never have helped any body part they've stuck them into for me (shoulder, back). The surgery was easy and worked very, very well for me. I know everyone is different, so your mileage may vary. Chin up, it really will be better some day...soon.
    Last edited by Calvincrowe; Nov. 25, 2013 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Left out a word..though it still reads awkwardly.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  18. #18
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    Injections unfortunately only work for inflammation.
    My L5-S1 slipped about a year ago and started to raise hell among the nerves on the left side of my back. Cortisone is completely useless to me: the only thing to have helped me is a high dose of gabapentin with the occasional hydro.
    Good luck on your journey to pain relief!



  19. #19
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    And the verdict is... I'm having surgery (microdiscectomy) on the 20th.

    This is the 3rd year in a row where I'll have surgery right around Christmas time. Not a fan of this tradition. My joints need to get their act together.



  20. #20
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    Jingles for a speedy recovery!



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