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Severe pain when given Epidural Lumbar injection of Depo-Medrol

I have had both knees operated on in the last 5 months.  I started having pain in my lumbar area, with shooting pains to knee on left side, shortly after injury on 1/5/05.  MRI showed bulging disks in L3/L4 & L4/L5. I had an Epidural Lumbar injection of Depo-Medrol with x-ray on 8/29/05.  I was not sedated.  Initial deadening injection was not painful.  Next 2 injections were uncomfortable.  The last injection was excrutiating.  I screamed.  A shot of pain went from injection area down left buttocks to toes.  It lasted for over 2 minutes.  I refused anymore follow up injections.  I had pain for about 1 1/2 weeks in site.  But no relief whatsoever.  Actually I had more and it started hurting on right also.  One month later, I started having pain further up in back.  In between shoulder blades.  It is sore to touch.  I'm starting to feel like I am getting a hunchback.  No visible signs though.  Could the shot have caused this pain and why, when I was told it never hurts like I experienced it on injection, did it hurt so bad?  He was going to do a nerve block the next time that I cancelled.  Should I try it?  Thank You.
6 Responses
Avatar universal
I cannot confirm for you whether the injections caused your symptoms over the internet. Pain from the buttocks to the toes is usually from a problem with the sciatic nerve - this is at a lower site though than the L4/5 level. I do not know how much muscle spasm is contributing to your pain also (may ne a reason for the higher up pain), only an examiner would be able to tell. An EMG needle exam and nerve conduction study of the left leg might be able to tell if there is any nerve injury, however in the presence of pain only without a neurological deficit this test is generally unhelpful. A nerve block would be a similar method of injection but with a different drug - this time something like novocaine which might provide some temporary relief. It is important though to come to the cause of the  pain to best find a treatment, it may be necessary to get a second opinion. The Cleveland Clinic Pain management Center could help if required.
Good luck
Avatar universal
In the past I have had a total of 3 lumbar & 1 cervical Epidural Injection. My very first lumbar epidural put me in my bed for about a week. The second lumbar ESI wasn't as painful and I was a nut to agree to another. My third one nearly made me pass out. With each one I felt as if my back was getting worse and started to also have pain in other areas of my back. Between my lumbar ESI's and my lumber discogram, they basically crippled me back. I was then dragging my right leg and needed a cane to walk. You could say that they really prepared me for needing surgery.

I would suggest that your research on the web and read the Burton Report. This report gives much information about how harmful these injections can be. They do indeed help many patient's but it is not a permanent fix, only a temporary Band-Aid. My email address is ***@****, if you would like to talk.
Avatar universal
Most of you have a pretty understanding doctor it sounds like. I have a major reconstruction of my cervical spine. All of my disk were herniated with compression on the spinal cord.I developed right wrist drop, and had to have emergency surgery or be paralyzed from my neck down. I am now full of screw, rods, and a steel plate. Now my thoracic and lumbar spine is going. I have degenerative disk disease. I have two herniated disk in my thoracic spine, and all of my lumber disk from L1-S1 are herniated, along with severe spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and osteorarthritis. My doctor had me on Methadone 10mg 3xa day, and Lortab 10/650 4xa day. One visit I could not pay him. And he told me he was not a free clinic, and took me off my methadone. He gave me a  months supply to come down off of it. Even with that I went through trememdous withdrawl. He continued my Lortab up until we had another disagreement, than he put me on Norco 10/325. and now I am on Naproxin 500mg. I am in severe pain. and deeply depressed. I am going to physical therapy three times a week. My therapist says my doctor is mistreating me. All because of money. I am now on Medicare, and disability. He still is doing me wrong by letting me suffer like this. I am going to a spine center next month, I hear there is a new type of surgery out that is very inavasive and you recover much quickly. I am very against surgery of any kind because of scar tissue. I am about ready to go to the emergency room for a pain shot. My doctor is wanting me to have an epidural, I have heard bad and good. I am afraid to let him give me an epidural and send me home on Naproxin. Eventually I have been told that I will be in a wheel chair without surgeries. Mainly because of my scoliosis. In 2003 my spine was only curved to the left. Now the recent MRI'S show it curved to the left than to the right. S shaped. All facets, and endcaps have degenerated worse too. I am a mess.  I do see a psychiatrist for depression which helps a little. Does anyone know of any good pain management doctors in the Sarasota County area? Or Charlotte County area. Florida  Junelee
Avatar universal
There have been many studies that look at the efficacy and potential complications of nerve blocks and epidural injections,
the most important factor for efficacy is patient selection, if these procedures are performed selectively in patients that meet the criteria, the results are significantly better mostly for the acute and sub-acute symptoms, the long term effect is however not that clear. One of these studies is the Burton study, which can not conclude about the effectiveness of these procedeures, however it reiterates the very low incidence of complications, it even mentions the potential complications of chronic therapy with steroids, which in fact does not apply to these procedures since they are performed with doses that are spared weeks appart and more significant is that the type of steroid used is a deposit(cristalized) form that has minimal
absortion to the body, if any.
Dear tomorrow447, I have seen multiple postings by you reporting that you suffer from many of the conditions that people discuss in the forum, I wonder if you have been evaluated for a somatoform disorder, if not, I would advice you to do so.
Avatar universal
Dear Barinas

It seems as if I don't have a somatoform disorder, just very poor health. But I thank you for you concern. I do suffer with many medical problem's and have received to many to list, diagnosis'. Fortunately enough, my doctor's have ordered many different tests, and all my illnesses have been diagnosed from the test's, so therefore proper treatment can begin. So yes indeed, you may see my post to multiple threads as I can so relate to many different neurological problems, especially when it comes to the spine and treatments. Although some treatments may work for one and not the other, it is best to be research and have an all possible of both good & bad outcomes, prior to agreeing to such treatments.
I have had lumber fusion and that has left me in more pain and with a diagnosis of FBSS (failed back surgery syndrome). I also had a cervical fusion in September and so far my recovery has been great. I will also be having a gallbladder surgery in two weeks. In the last 2 years I have had 6 surgery's and I sure am not looking forward to another one. So I guess you could definitely rule out a Somatoform Disorder.
Avatar universal
Well, I hear you, I hope you have the best outcome in your upcoming surgery.
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