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L4-L5 Protrusion - Epidural injection
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L4-L5 Protrusion - Epidural injection

MRI recently showed multiple disc bulges (none very serious), but I did have 1 herniated disc.  Doctor recommends pain management and a steroid epidural (he thinks oral steroids will not be very effective).

Does anyone know exactly what I can expect (aside from everything I read online)?  I'd like to hear some first-hand stories from people who have had these injections before, and what was the result.

Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there!

I would be happy to tell you my experience. I just had an epidural injection in my L4-5 area a couple of weeks ago and will have another one tomorrow morning.

The procedure is very safe when done using fluoroscopy. They will hook you up to an IV, then just before the procedure they will give you a mild sedative that takes about 60 seconds to work. The anesthesiologist locally numbs the area (just like a dentist does before giving you a shot), then he will use another needle and inject you with steroids. The shot itself is not painful, the only discomfort I felt was the pressure of the fluids being injected. The whole procedure takes about 2 minutes, if that.

The first thing I felt after getting home was pure relief because I was completely numb in that area. When that wore off, the pain I had previously did become worse and I was not able to stand or walk without assistance for two days. (this was something that I have been dealing with prior to the shot, so it wasn't much different). I did not notice any difference in pain after those first several days. About a week later there were a few days that I felt pretty good and my weakness had subsided. That lasted a few days and now I am ready to try #2 tomorrow. All in all, the experience was alright and I am hoping the 2nd injection does its job. I recommend them to you. I will also begin an aggressive rehabilitation program at the Pain Center - I will go 5 days a week, 2 hours a day for 8 weeks. We are trying everything to prevent from having surgery.

Hope this was helpful to you. Don't get discouraged by the online horror stories. If you go to a reputable place with a great doctor, you will be just fine!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for sharing your experience.  From the sounds of it, your problem, at least from a pain perspective, is greater than mine.  At least my pain is somewhat bearable.

I am going to proceed with the injection(s), and hope for the best.

Good luck to you, and thanks again for sharing.
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268575_tn?1242906671
hi,im going through the same disc problems,l4 l5...............two discectemys.....still in pain.not sure if i did something wrong,have you heard any thing about the l4 l5 fusion,because i think this is going to be my only chance to get my life somewhat back to normal.im going next month.i hear a lot of horror storys on here,where are the success storys......
i guess they wouldnt be on here or in rehab because they are living a somewhat normal life.
if my surgury turns out good,im going to let everyone know on here and hope to be a inspiration to them
good luck and god bless to all
p.s. if anyone knows of a success story please tell me
ty..al
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

What do you think you may have done wrong? Do you mean during your recovery stage? May I ask what activities you can do now? What is a typical day like for you?  

I am afraid that the injections I was so gung-ho about having set back my recovery quite a bit. I also am seeing a surgeon. He said he can go in and take out the disc that is pressing on my nerve. I am getting another MRI tomorrow because there is more than one disc involved and he is concerned I am worse than my first MRI shows. The areas in question are L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1.

I will let you know if I find out anything that may be helpful to you.

P.S. You are exactly right in your statement - PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING WELL AND HAVE HAD SUCCESSFUL SURGERIES DO NOT USUALLY HANG OUT ON A BACK CHAT FORUM - THEY ARE LIVING THEIR LIVES! Please don't get discouraged. There are plenty of people who have had successful surgeries. My father, my brother in law and a friend of mine. (all people I personally know and all have had successful results!)

Cheers and best of luck! Keep me informed of your journey!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had 14 Spinal Injections. At first I would get a month or 2 of relief and then right back where I started. I have now had a Discectomy (2000) and a Spinal Fusion from S1-L5 to L3- L4. I have had no relief whatsoever. If I could do it over again I would never of had the fusion. I do know of people that have had relief, but after 14 I went for the fusion. Hope you the best
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268575_tn?1242906671
hey,ty again for your inspiration....wow sounds like you have a lot of disc problems.......so what are you going to do........also keep me informed of your journey
as for what i think i did wrong is after surgury BOTH times in my lower back i felt GREAT.so,stupid me start movea washer ,dryer,things around the house......second time riding my motorcycle which is 750lbs came home FORGOT to put down my KICKSTAND when i got to the garage and bike stated going down im  holding it up almost started to sceam for someone....should have!!!!!!!!
bike was falling into my wifes bike and you could imagine how it costs to repair motorcycles
so i gave it all i had and uprighted it...OOOPS!!!!!!!thought i felt something in my lower back.not sure but it seems like shortly after my pain started again
my days lately are not so good,im not on my feet for long and i start getting pinching in my buttock right side then it starts to go down the leg.....if i push it it start to feel like knifes being pushed up my leg,soon as i sit down it starts to relief..now my big toe on my right foot is starting to go numb,along with the tops of my toes.then of course the constipation,my urination is slow,doc says it the med,me im not so sure.used to go to the gym and work out..........what the pt people taught me.now im afraid to go.well i could go on and on ,but i gave you a idea what my dat is like
god bless-al
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Avatar_n_tn
I
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Avatar_n_tn
I read a forums for this procedure and I was shock due to my Neurologist referred me to a doctor for the injections and I didn't get any information other than doing my own research.  I was just given an appointment date and was told that I would be able to drive myself and walk out within 5-10 mins once it was finished.  There was no verification of my insurance other than the nurse or who ever answered the phone asking me who I had. So I called my primary doctor office cause I felt like I was lost and I've never seen where there was no education given prior to having any type of procedure done and where talking someone blind when it comes to my spine area.  But it's major to me, they were so unprofessional, due to any procedure there are risk.  How can you just make an appointment and do everything the same day?

I'm so baffled, my primary doctor's office perferred me to the location they use, so now I'm waiting on someone to call me.


I just want clear understanding on what to expect.  I've been hurting for so long over 3yrs I've done everything.  I'm limited to excerising like I use to or even sleeping positions and just even simple things like playing with my kids.  I just want relief, dose this really works.  


I even started a forum since I'm so lost


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Avatar_n_tn
i had the epidural injection and i would rather have a 10lb baby than have another one. mine was very painful and that pain is not worth 1 month  of relief .....thats what i got. the day after my injection i could not put weight on my right leg. in other words it was not worth it for me. some people it works for. i just had surgery a week ago and i had a very large herniated disc. good luck but the injections are not for me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had my second epidural, the 1st was 9 days ago, between L4/L5, pain went away for a few days, then got worse. It has become a major disability for me.
Today I had another injection at L5, and the doc used a lot of medicine. None of these were done using an IV or sedatives. The florascope was in front of me and I could see (and feel-ouch!) the meds going in.

I am 44 yrs old, and have two discs that are herniated shown on the MRI.

Anything is better than surgery and I trust this will allow me to do physical therapy and stregthen my lower back.

I am praying for relief.
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Avatar_n_tn
You all are really scaring me silly!!  I am going Wednesday to a spine doc referred from my orthopedic.  I am going for consultation first but we will be discussing the shots.  I have been in pain for over 6 years, not debilitating, but the crying occasionally pain.  I have spent plenty of money on a good chiropractor and physical therapy, both of which worked but I need something longer lasting.  From the sounds of it, I might not have it so bad.  I guess I could live with what I have as long as I can have my prescription naproxen and my darvocet.  
I have also heard that acupunture works well.
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Avatar_n_tn
From my 4 years of experience, i was in a car accident 4 yrs ago, every case is different.  I myself have had over 16 different types of injections, 2 neucleoplasty surgeries, 2 discograms, years of pain meds, and finally just had cervical disc replacement surgery a week ago, and when i heal from that i will be getting the same surgery done in my back.  When I first started PT it did not help at all but my family doctor would not listen to me, i kept telling him to give me an MRI, after a few months of continued pain he realized it was beyond his expertise and sent me for the MRI and to a orthopedic surgeon, who referred me to a pain management doctor for the shots.  As I have sat in MANY doctors waiting rooms listening to everyone talk about their case, like I said everyone is different and hopefully you are one of the ones that the injections works for,  Dont think that it is ok to live with your pain, there is so much out there to help people like us, just find yourself some good doctors first and hopefully they will take care of the rest.  good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
I guess we're all in the same boat tho', I sufferred from LBP 5 yrs ago but I just dont pay attention that much cos'  everytime it pain i'll take Ibrufen tab then it relieve but 'til recently the pain is unbearable then it's like a wake up call....I did MRI and found out that my L4-5 dege. disk and l3-s1 is affected as well....I had Epidural Inj. 2 months ago but useless, I still feel the same after. He referred me to PT doctor now I need to finish 8 sessions 4 done 4 more to go the PT is very effective tho' I still have pain but its less and tolerable.....after finishing my 8 sessions I need to check again with my PT doctor and wait for the next plan....frankly I dont really depend on them, I am doing my own research and did some pilates(not all is applicable) at home. Apart from the treatment we have/had we should also do some extra activities by ourselves to make our recovery fast and hopefully be well for good.

According to my physician, this will not go away or the spine will never be the same but i could be prevented from becoming worst.


Good luck and God Speed!
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Avatar_f_tn
I too have problems with L4 and also L2, L3 and L6. I have had 3 epidurals and 3 nerve block injections, none of which have given any relief to my pain. As far as the procedures go, there is nothing to it. Just a local anesthetic and the injection. I have been dealing with this pain for about 4 and a half yrs. I hope that the injections help you and that you will have relief from your pain.God bless.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree on doing the extras.  Someone told me that if my stomach muscles were stronger my back would have some relief.  I went to the pain mgmt. doctor believing he was going to tell me that he would inject the spot where the disc is protruding.  He said that the protrusion should be affecting my left side.  However, I go this morning for 8 shots in my facet joints and my Si joints.   I have alot of arthritis, degeneration in these.  As I said before, I have had this pain for over 6 years, twelve if you count when I first seen a chiropractor.  That first visit she said my right side was thrust forward.  I laughed it off as a fluke from carring children on my hip.  Six years ago when I started trying to fix these problems again I am hearing the same thing.  Physical therapy really helped, but who can afford it if you have to do it all the time.  I should have never stopped my exercises when I was feeling better.  The therepist said my Si joint was tilted forward, the exercises put it back in place.  I am telling you all this because the pain mgmt. doc said that if physical therapy worked it was more than likely not a disc thing.  I am scared but really confident this will work.  For how long,,, I am not sure.  If I have six months of relief, it will be money well worth spent.  Good luck to all and I will come back and let you guys know if this worked. Something I read on someone elses post is that all of us on here have horror stories and are looking for answers.  Usually those that have found the answers have no reason to be on a back and neck forum, they are blowin' and goin', living life like we will soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had my first epidural for an L4 L5 herniated disc two weeks ago.
Almost painless injection and started feeling much better after first 24-48 hours I was almost pain free then after 48 hours some of the leg pains from the nerve root started returning with a pain level of about 2-3.  The radiating pain down the leg has now increased to about a 6-7 this morning.  I am scheduled for my 2nd epidural today
because the pain is probably worse now than when i had the first epidural injection of steroids.  

Wish me luck on my 2nd one at noon today.

If your anesthesiologist using x ray to guide the needle to the right spot it should be a lot easier and a lot more successful.  
***@****
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello. thanks for all the info... I feel so lost and at the same time so afraid of never getting my life back. i have a serious nerve pinch. It numbs my legs . i lost the sensibility of my big toes. I have bulging disc and herniated discs. I fell from the hospital bed with my epidral n place as i was admited after having a c-section ( 3 years ago) . months after i couldn't walk but for misbeliefs of the doctors they thought it was sciatic pain," the baby weight" . but with time,4mris ,11months of pt , plenty of narcotics( i hate the fact that every visit they will give me something new or stronger ) and 8 shots ... Now i'm finally considering surgery . Not sure how I will be able to recover and one day go back to do triathlons .... everyday is hard enough to get out of bed and walk . good luck to all.
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