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Steroid Epidural Injections...helpful or not???any insight appreciated


I have a herniated c4,c5 and c6 disc.The dr keeps wanting to try conservative treatment.....meanwhile I am in week #6-7 of contracted cervical muscles and am in severe pain, not sleeping, now developing numbness due to the continued guarding.The w-comp dr wants me to try more conservative treatment of cervical steroid epidual injections?Has anyone ever had these...if so ...were they beneficial?I am willing to try ANYTHING.....but I am worried.I know that cortisone can cause avascular necrosis.....could it damage my discs even more?any info....or advicw would be great>>>>>>if anyone has had this done....how long till you saw any benefit if any?:confused: :o :confused: :o :confused:


Specializes in ER, ICU, Occupational, Radiology. Has 35 years experience.

I haven't had an ESI but I work in radiology where our radiologists do LOTS of back and neck injections pretty much daily. I think I would certainly try injections before I would have surgery -- surgery would be last on my list. ESI's aren't a "cure", though. They can help relieve pain anywhere from days to months. Many people have them periodically for chronic problems. Complications CAN occur but I believe that there are by far more complications related to surgery. I know several different types of specialists give ESI's and other spine pain injections -- my own preference (of course, because I work there!) is to have a radiologist do it, or at least a physician who does it under fluoro in xray. That way, they can see exactly where they are before they inject. Some physicians inject without fluoro -- not safe. Anyway, although some people do not get relief, I still think if I were in severe chronic pain and was faced with either surgery or an ESI -- I would be getting the ESI. Hope I helped?

thanks!!!!!I was wondering though........can they sedate me for this?I mean like.........alot alot of versed......more than you'd give the usual person.Because my spine is soooooooooo sensitive I cant stand for anyone to even LOOK at it.......not to mention touch it.


Specializes in ER, ICU, Occupational, Radiology. Has 35 years experience.

Sometimes we sedate but generally not, though, because the injections is so quick in most cases. They don't want to add the risk of sedation. We do tell people that they CAN take pain pills or muscle relaxers before they come in. We used to have an anesthesiologist who would schedule ESI's in our angio lab that she would do under fluoro -- she would generally SNOW her pts with Versed before she did the injection. That was nice for them, sometimes, but then they ended up with a 2-3 hr recovery time afterwards. I see some people VERY sensitive in their pain area, others not so much. I would ask alot of questions before you actually scheduled the procedure.

My husband just successfully completed a 3 time epidural injection course of therapy for severe back pain. L5, S1 area. He was not able to stand more than 90 seconds without having to sit down from agonizing pain.

He is a Plice Lieutenant, and this interfered with his job, big time. I respect the prior Radiology Nurse's comments, but I would want an Anesthiologist do this procedure, as they do epidurals a number of times a day times so many years they have the correct feel for this.

My hsband was cared for wonderfully by the dept of Anesthesia, pain management clinic. The clinic is housed in the Hospital Out Patient Surgery department. He did not require being medicated with anything, the Anesthesiologist used xylocane, and my husband swears he did not feel a thing after the tiny little pinch. He was able to go right home, was able to go out for lunch after, and now runs on the treadmill for unlimited amounts of time. This sure beats only standing for 90 seconds at a time. The three injections were 10 days apart so it was done in a months time. He completed this 3 months ago.

renerian, BSN, RN

Specializes in MS Home Health.

I do not know about the steriod epidurals but I know I had hurt my shoulder this summer. I ignored, like we nurses do, until the pain was horrible. My doc injected the joint and put me on vioxx and within a week the pain was gone 100%. I would try it.

You have my total sympathy on cervical pain. I have been in two car crashes, neither were my fault, and had whiplash. Had to wear that awful brace and the pain was the worst I had ever had. Crippleing.



Specializes in Step down, ICU, ER, PACU, Amb. Surg.


I say try the injections before considering going under the knife. I have seen our anesthesia providers do several ESIs and all that has been required is that the patient be held in the Ambulatory Surgery area for about 30 minutes to a hour after recieving the injection to make sure that tere are no complications.

I do not know the specifics of how many a person can have in what time frame, so I would look into that. I am also sure that each person's individual condition plays a big roll in that decision as well.

I also agree with Barb. I'd want a Anesthesia provider that does lumbar punctures for spinals all the time to perform the injections.

I wish you the best of luck and send warm thoughts and prayers your way.

CseMgr1, ASN, RN

Specializes in Case Management, Home Health, UM. Has 39 years experience.

Go for it! I just finished my second ESI on September 17, and am virtually pain-free, for the first time in years!

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