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Chronic pain

Spinal injection - how was it?

20 replies

Dontwakeme · 20/09/2022 12:34

Had an appointment with consultant to discuss treatment for slipped discs and a cortisone/ numbing injection into the area under X-ray was given as an option to try in order to avoid surgery.
anyone have experience of this that they could share? He said it’s hit and miss how people respond and get relief from it. It’s quite pricey (£700-800) so I’m considering if this is something I should do. It’s quite a wait I believe for this on the NHS however can’t get definite waiting times given to me.
iv had epidurals before with C sections which I found fine but wondering would this be similar?

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Fearless9286 · 20/09/2022 13:36

I had this procedure earlier this year following an mri which showed a herniated disc at L5/S1. It got me up off the floor after 3 weeks of crippling sciatica and I no longer need to take as much pain relief. It hasn't been a cure all for me but it has allowed me to keep moving and working without being doped up.

That said, I've gone ahead with plans for a microsdiscectomy as I'm still limited and in pain, despite weekly physio since April, with no sign of it really resolving. I had the injection privately and was in/out in less than an hour although couldn't drive afterwards. The procedure itself was fine and the relief was instant from the anaesthetic before slowly creeping back again for me over a week or so but still much more dulled than prior to the injection.

I understand that for a large proportion of people, the disc will reabsorb on its own, the injection gives relief from the nerve pain long enough to allow that to happen.

Dontwakeme · 20/09/2022 20:47

@Fearless9286 thanks for sharing this and sorry to hear you are still limited x I have 3 bulges one being the L5/s1 so I have a sense of what you experience. I’m due to go back to work this week after a few weeks off and I’m worried I won’t be able to manage/ concentrate etc so really have to be mindful of the Medication I take , I have a public facing job so can’t fall asleep/ zone out etc !!

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Fearless9286 · 20/09/2022 22:06

I don't think I could have gone back to work without the injection, I couldn't drive with codeine as it really zombied me out and amitriptaline made me very groggy. Even though the injection hasn't been the cure I hoped for, I'm still glad I had it as it has allowed me to function somewhat normally although I'm very sore by the time I get home at night.

I've been able to use a standing desk at work and move around every hour or so which helps. I've also found an exercise ball useful for sitting on at home. No bouncing of course, just a bit of very gentle rolling back and forward in very small movements. Better for me than sitting on a chair or sofa and gives a bit of variety for half an hour here and there.

Mxflamingnoravera · 10/10/2022 19:30

I had this done last week. It was great until the local wore off but then retuned pain, slightly reduced. Until today when it has returned with full ferocity and it looks like surgery is my only option. I had to pay £1250 for my injection, it was done in theatre with guided X-ray, in a private hospital.

I hope it works for you and I think it's worth trying, but make sure you also have an NHS referral in the pipeline too unless you can afford upwards of £10k for private surgery.

Ps it didn't hurt and was over in a few minutes. Local anaesthetic lasted 4 hours, then I knew it had not worked. But, there is a two week window before its effectiveness is considered.
Good luck, you have my total sympathy.

Dontwakeme · 10/10/2022 23:02

@Mxflamingnoravera thank you, I’ve had alot of improvement in pain level and definitely more manageable now- the private injection is scheduled for next week so will see how I get on. I’m sorry it wasn’t great relief for you, it’s alot of money to pay. Mine is £700 for injection in 2 levels.

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Dontwakeme · 15/10/2022 01:53

@Mxflamingnoravera my injection was was postponed as I had a temp and cough so I need to call again next week to try and get a cancellation. Initially I wasn’t bothered as I said I had a great improvement of symptoms , that was until yesterday and I jarred it and now I’m back to absolute agony and constant nerve pain. I can’t sit, sleep etc- you know yourself!
I have my nhs appointment this week also so will definitely ask to get on a list of some sort there- either injection or surgery as a back up. Waiting times are awful here.
im went back up to full dose of amitriptyline last night and today and on max painkillers but nothing touching it! Hope you get some relief- what’s your plan now the injection hasn’t worked as you hoped?

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Mxflamingnoravera · 15/10/2022 18:17

@Dontwakeme The awful pain I had on Monday has now subsided and I now have just pain in my foot and ankle. I'm now of the opinion that perhaps the shot did work and that I jarred my back on Monday causing the flare up but the recovery has been fast, only four days.
This week my NHS referral came through and I spoke to the spinal surgeon who did the injections, his view is that we schedule surgery on the NHS which could take upwards of six months to come through by which time we will also know if the shot has worked or not. Someone I know said she had a major flare up after her spinal shot and it subsided quickly and after three weeks she felt the injection had been successful. So I'm hoping mine is following the same pattern whilst also keeping my place in the NHS waiting list for surgery (injections are often only a temporary relief and symptoms can re-emerge after 3-6 months).

I need mine to continue to improve because I need to find a job, at the moment no employer is going to take me on if I could relapse at any point. I strongly suspect I will be heading for surgery (microdiscectomy) as my disc is heavily herniated and pressing hard on my sciatic nerve- the presence of the steroid in my back when I had the relapse on Monday probably caused the unbearable pain to subside much faster than the first flare up in July. It's been nearly four months since I've felt ok to walk and I've been on strong painkillers ever since and will stay on them for the foreseeable (because I don't know how I'll feel without them).

Wishing you all the very best luck with yours. I'll be two weeks post shot on Wednesday this week.

user1019273703 · 15/10/2022 18:23

I have had 3. The 3rd was coming up to 7 years ago. I still have pain from time to time but nothing like before. My disc bulge is L5/S1

Dontwakeme · 15/10/2022 22:57

@Mxflamingnoravera ah dear love you that is so hard. I’m glad u recovered a bit from Monday - it’s a worry at all times how these flair ups can just happen. Mine on Thursday was something very very minor that my colleague who was with me was thinking I made it up!
I’ll find out on Monday when I can get the private injection and then later in the week I have my nhs initial appointment with the surgeon. I also need to lose weight, I’m finding I’m craving so much junk recently and my exercise levels are obviously low so the extra weight certainly won’t be helping I’m sure. What painkillers are you taking? My Gp only gives me 30 cocodomol at a time and since this flair up that will only last me about 4 days so need to call on Monday again to ask for more- this also causes stress thinking I’ll not be given more and the pain will be worse and I’ll not cope etc! Ahhh very frustrating. I have small children at home and life is definitely tough at the minute ! Hope you feel continued improvement over this weekend !

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Dontwakeme · 15/10/2022 22:58

@user1019273703 that’s good you got some relief with them, I have 3 bulges the worst being l5/s1 so hoping the injection works well too! Sorry to hear you still get some pain but glad it’s manageable!!

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Mxflamingnoravera · 16/10/2022 21:01

@Dontwakeme I take amitryptaline at night (30mg), naproxen x2 per day, cocodomol or tramadol at four hourly intervals when it's at its worst and today I've only had one lot of cocodomol, no naproxen (but I'll take one at bed time because I'll need to taper off them).

Over the last three months I've been prescribed morphine patches, gabapentin and nortriptine. I've not taken the gabapentin or the nortriptine because the side effects I read about in the pack leaflet make me to anxious to take them.

I can pretty much ask the dr for anything at the moment because they've seen the pain I've been in. I'll start reducing all the pain meds this week to see if the recovery is due to the injection or the amitryptaline kicking in (it can take 4-6 weeks to work).

I don't go to the dr any longer (can't drive or walk there- until this weekend) I have a phone convo and tell them about my pain levels and whether I think I need more or less. They always give me two weeks worth at a time.

If I were you I would get back to the dr and tell them you simply cannot get through the day with the pain relief they've given you. You can tell them you've been reading up on Sciatica and it's common to be prescribed a combination of painkillers. Nb if you are already on antidepressants you may not be able to take amitryptaline because it's also an antidepressant in larger doses, but you can push for something specific to neuropathic pain.

I don't know how I'd have managed if I had children to look after too, mine is grown up and left home. But I did lose my job because I couldn't find pain relief that allowed me to get through a day at work (in higher education). So I've been able to rest and do gentle exercises, but I live alone so it's been pretty lonely for the last three months.

Mxflamingnoravera · 16/10/2022 21:06

Sorry, I missed that you're already on amitryptaline. Can you up the dosage? Up to 30-40mg my spine Dr suggested, increase by 10mg per week.

Dontwakeme · 24/10/2022 10:59

Hi all, an update of sorts- had the spinal injections- process fine, extreme bit of pain for about 30 seconds that’s it! However…. They don’t seem to have worked like the expensive miracle I hoped for, my leg still buzzing away and pain in at night etc however definitely not as bad pain as before but can’t imagine being able to reduce the amitriptyline or painkillers fully yet. Trying to take less for sure and hope it’s just taking longer for the injections to settle in! For those who had it- was the relief instant?!

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Clymene · 24/10/2022 11:04

I had to have two injections to reduce the swelling sufficiently to take the pressure entirely off the nerve.

Dontwakeme · 24/10/2022 11:12

@Clymene oh that’s interesting- what gap of time did you have between them?

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Yayyayitsaholiholiday · 24/10/2022 11:16

I had it, but it made no differsp then I had a partial discectomy and I’m back to (almost) normal.

Dontwakeme · 24/10/2022 14:23

@Yayyayitsaholiholiday thanks for sharing, I think today is definitely a worse day pain wise but maybe it also due to the fact I’m trying to take less painkillers. Can I ask what made you decide to hve the op?was it pain that couldn’t be managed even with medication ?
for me currently at the minute if I take enough painkillers - codeine and naproxen, and also amitriptyline then I can manage the day fine, pain definitely manageable. However I’m thinking at what point is surgery better over long term medication use, I had the injections hoping I could reduce the medication I was taking , early days maybe- it’s only been a week since the injections!

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Chelsea26 · 24/10/2022 14:44

The injections didn’t work for me at all. I ended up having spinal fusion surgery and it has been amazing. I stopped taking all painkillers 4 days after the operation (and I was on loads!) and am completely fine 7 years on.

Spinal surgery sounds drastic and scary, and it is, but if it’s what you need then I’d say go for it!

Yayyayitsaholiholiday · 24/10/2022 17:21

@Dontwakeme i couldn’t stand up straight - the pain was so bad. I could only walk with crutches and it would take me about 20 minutes of sheer agony to get up in the morning. It wasn’t an option to not have the op.

Clymene · 24/10/2022 17:42

Dontwakeme · 24/10/2022 11:12

@Clymene oh that’s interesting- what gap of time did you have between them?

It was years ago so memory a bit hazy but at a guess I'd say 4-6 weeks?

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