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Epidural for back pain

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by mansonlovescats, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. mansonlovescats

    mansonlovescats New commenter

    Just need some general advice. Over half term I had an epidural and some muscle injections in my lower back with the intention of reducing my pain for a protuding disc. It did not go completely smoothly; initially the procedure was done with me sitting up, but I was quickly in agony. Eventually it was done while lying down, and was not as bad.
    However, my legs are still weak (I already have 'heavy legs' which a neurologist thinks is down to the nerve being irritated somewhere in my back, but not at the centre of pain. It's all a bit complicated!) and I have a lot of referred (?) pain down my legs. I know it takes a while for things to calm down,as I had 6 injections into my back last year, but I have been taken by surprise a little by this. I have attempted to return to work this week, but was in too much pain.
    Has anyone had this procedure? If so, when should I expect the pain to decrease so I can stand for more than 5 minutes?!
  2. Roboteer

    Roboteer New commenter

    When you say that you had an epidural - did you have steroids or local anaesthetic injected?
    I have had both types and remember the steroid ones being particularly painful, so much so that I was actually put under a GA for the last lot that I had done. I don't remember the pain being a lot worse afterwards though, although it is 18 years since I had them done so memory may fail me.
    I had a couple of local anaesthetic ones done as well, where they put a little tube in and fed LA into it non-stop for a week while I was in hospital. They were amazing! The latter type I had done by a pain consultant and it was so different to the steroid ones done by my orthopaedic consultant who really should have given up medicine for his true calling of butchery!
    I would guess from your description that they probably hit some nerves whilst doing the injections and this may well explain why your pain is so bad. I think I would be ringing the consultant's secretary and asking to be seen again urgently if I was still in as much pain as you are now. If pain is a serious problem long-term for you I would really recommend finding out if you can be referred to a pain clinic. They can work magic in them and in my experience were a lot better at administering the treatments as well.
    Hope you do start to feel better soon - back pain is miserable.
  3. mansonlovescats

    mansonlovescats New commenter

    Thanks for the reply.
    I am already in a pain clinic - have been for over 1 year now. I've had back pain for 2 1/2 years, and am currently on slow release morphine. I am used to being in pain, but it is particularly bad at the moment.
    It was done under local anaesthetic, and I believe they were steriod injections. The consultant doing the procedure did apologise afterwards for causing so much pain!
    A major problem is my mri scan - it does not fit with my symptoms, they struggle to believe I have sciatica - I have referred pain and sciatica and can definately tell the difference now!
    The muscles in the lower back are in constant spasm (hence the pain), and the injection in them helped take the knot out for a whole 2 days!
    I probably should phone the hospital - I just keep thinking they'll brush me off, so haven't bothered.
  4. Roboteer

    Roboteer New commenter

    Definately phone them - the epidurals are supposed to help not hinder!
    I'm surprised they tried to do them sitting up - mine were always done with my lying on my side and curled into the foetal position. Having had two done sitting up for giving birth the lying down option is definately preferable.
    Have you tried using a TENS machine? I used to use one a lot, just helped top up everything else without sending me unconscious.
    I used to find that the muscles would spasm due to pain being caused elsewhere rather than because there was something wrong with the muscle. The pain was often worse than the nerve pain though.
    Have you ever tried/been referred for hydrotherapy? It is physio in the pool as opposed to swimming. The pools are all warmer than a swimming pool too. I used to find it helped the muscle pain a bit.
    I was eventually referred to a specialist centre for back/neck pain as I had been left in a wheelchair by chronic pain rather than by there being any further deterioration in the damage to my back. Three surgeons had said there was nothing they could do and the pain clinic had fairly run out of options. After three weeks I came out walking :) I've had the odd blip since but nothing like the years before. I learnt to control the pain essentially through biofeedback. It is still there, if I get overtired I am aware of it and have to take painkillers. Most of the time I get on with life fine though and am not aware of any pain.
    Keep going back and asking them to try new things until you find what works for you.
  5. mansonlovescats

    mansonlovescats New commenter

    Thanks for the reply - the pain eventually went and now I'm really feeling the benefits! I'm almost pain free for the 1st time in nearly 3 years. Still get sore if I do too much, but I am walking normally for the first time since it went! Very pleased with how things are going. Seeing the doctor in August for an update - it will be wearing off by then. Now it's time to take the opportunity to lose the 5 1/2 stone I've gained in the last few years.

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