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Update/Question pg. 3 - spine injections: to be "knocked out," or not?

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  • Original Poster

    UPDATE, for anyone else who's considering injections.

    So far -- I have NO, as in ZERO, sciatica when sitting or sleeping. No pain, no tingling, no burning, no "jumpy"/restless legs or feet. I was able to sit comfortably on the couch through a 2.5-hour movie, something I've never been able to do before. I'm also not waking up tossing and turning at night, trying to get comfortable.

    Also, my right shoulder doesn't hurt, as it usually does, which I've always suspected was from compensating.

    So is this how most people feel? It's pretty cool! I highly recommend feeling good.

    Yesterday was my first day back in the saddle. I took one horse out for a 45-minute or so walking trail ride. I felt GOOD in the saddle, like I had both a right leg and a left leg, too, no pinching through my hips, no burning right foot. I want to say, *maybe* toward the end of the ride I had some very, very slight tingling on the right... maybe. Then, after that, I rode the next horse for 30 minutes in the arena in my dressage saddle. I felt like I had even legs, no sciatica, and I was able to *use* my right leg and put it on my horse (poor horsey! surprise!! lol).

    ~Maybe~ I felt a tiny bit of tugging on my right side (lower back/right hip area) after riding the two horses, maybe? Or maybe this is the muscles on my right side readjusting to being able to both relax and function, instead of being all tight and protective for so long? Remains to be seen.

    I slept well last night, anyway. Today I'm sitting comfortably in my desk chair at work.

    I'm not taking ANY Advil (I was gulping down kind of scary amounts prior) OR Vicodin (which my doctor prescribed to get me off the Advil).

    My doctor wants me to feel 100% better, not 75% or 90%, so tentatively I have an appointment for a second injection in two weeks. My homework is to ride a lot in the meantime, and decide if I want/need to have a second injection, or if I am happy with the results of the first one.

    I really probably should have done this, oh, 10 years ago!
    Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
    Visit him on Facebook:


    • #22
      YAY!!! (happy dance happy dance happy dance!!!)

      Your muscles might be objecting to the fact that they're now being used evenly/properly. Talk to your dr about back exercises, massage, and other things you can do to build up the muscles needed to support your spinal column.

      Fingers and toes crossed you are 100% in no time. I'm really happy for you.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling


      • #23
        I had the same thing,and was 100% after 1 injection. The injection wasn't bad,and oh my God ,the relief after a couple of months of constant pain! Nerve pain is just horrible! Glad you are feeling better.


        • #24
          I've had a series of 3 caudal epidural steroid injections for tailbone pain...no sedation. It would have been a waste of good drugs.

          There was a quick burn when he numbed the skin, kind of a pinch when he put the big needle in and some pressure when he injected the med but no pain per se. All over in less than a minute. I went home, laid around and used an ice pack for twenty minutes a couple times during the day then right back to my usual activities including riding the next day.

          Lisa W-B I'm so happy you are much more comfortable. Unfortunately, mine didn't help a darn bit. I should have stopped at least after the second one. Oh well, I'm going back this week and he is going to try directly hitting the coccygeal nerves...fingers crossed that helps my pain in the butt. Then again maybe sitting is overrated.



          • #25
            I had one (no sedation) about a month ago, and it worked for about 5 days. I have a second and possible third Tuesday, then two weeks later for the third.
            I've gotten them for years and they bring about such instant relief it's unlike any pleasure I've come across. If they work, they are the BOMB.
            Ten years ago they worked for about 36 hours on me, which is why I had to have a second surgery. I'm trying to avoid a third now, so hoping the injections do the trick this time.

            Glad to hear you've gotten relief. Sciatica and the associated back pain is almost unbearable, and unless you've lived it, you just don't know how bad it is.


            • Original Poster

              Update -- I'm going for a second (and hopefully last) injection later this week.

              The results of the first one have been pretty fantastic overall, but there have been a few days where I've had twinges of sciatica and nerve pain. Still, twinges are totally NOTHING compared to what I was living with before. And on one of the days, I took two Advil, and the sciatica *went away*. (You have no idea how much Advil/Tylenol/Aleve I was taking before, and then vicodin after that when I went cold turkey on the other pain-non-killers, and it still didn't help all that much.)

              A test for me was over the weekend: I rode three horses on Saturday and was able to dismount after the third ride pretty much like a normal person (a milestone in itself). On Sunday, I went for a longer trail ride, because usually *walking* in the saddle kills me more than anything else. After 2.5 hours, I was starting to feel a BIT of numbness in my right foot, and in my left thigh, but normally, well before that, I would feel like both legs were on fire, and I would need to dismount (painfully) and try to walk it off for a while. And then I would usually be in pain the whole night and next day. But when I got back home after trail riding, I was able to swing out of the saddle normally. More awesome milestones. I followed that up with a dressage lesson Monday night. I figured if sitting all day at work on Monday didn't kill me, and then dressage didn't kill me, all after my riding weekend plus day of computer chair purgatory, this would be an ideal test, because the way I've *been*, I haven't been able to do two days of any kind of back-to-back activity without a lot of pain (in horse terms, two-day shows have killed me, and I would like to be able to ride in multi-day shows; I also would like to be able to go on long trail rides and actually enjoy them) And, after all that, more success. I have *some* dull, sort of muted-feeling sciatica today, but it's a shadow of its former self.

              So, I would love to have second shot bring about that additional edge of relief. My doctor said he didn't want me feeling any sciatica at all, so right now, that's the goal. But overall I'm very impessed with the results of the first one.
              Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
              Visit him on Facebook:


              • #27
                I had the RFD like JSwan and I wish I had been given a little to make me a bit less aware! The pain of the lidocaine shots was excructiating, and I have had epidurals for child birth and I think the back injections were worse. I am going to ask about the pre-treatment meds for next time
                Beth Davidson
                Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
                visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com


                • #28
                  I had cervical injections for radiculopathy down my arm. Light sedation was SOP. They wanted the muscles relaxed and for you not to twitch! The stuff they used was like about two galsses of wine. You felt it and were relaxed, but not out. Shortly afterward, I felt completely normal (or as normal as I get)

                  My first shot did almost nothing. I was so dissapointed. However the second one almost completely stopped the pain. The doctor had already advised me to take one more shot than I felt I needed, up to three shots. So if the first worked, I should still do the second. He said that in his experience, the patients who did the next shot had longer, more complete relief than those who did not. OTOH, he said that those who did not get relief from two shots rarely found it with 3.


                  • #29
                    I'm so glad I found this thread! I am having L-1 S-1 injected tomorrow. The siatica has been horrible the last couple months, but the odd thing is, i have no pain when I ride. Not sure if any pain the next day is related to riding but I would think it would hurt as I rode.

                    I've read all the "to sedate or not to sedate" opinions and they have been very helpful. Seems like every dr.'s office is different with regard to how "out of it" they want you to be.

                    I said I was very nervous about the procedure and the nurse slapped a Valium script in my hand. Nice.


                    • Original Poster

                      Good luck, Snapy! I hope it helps you!
                      Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
                      Visit him on Facebook:


                      • #31
                        I am scheduled for an epidural, my last option before fusion. I am on the list for surgery on Feb 21st if the epi doesn't help.

                        I am definitely going to ask to be sedated, if they don't I will not be able to handle it, I am a big baby.

                        I was supposed to have the fusion surgery on the 31st but my DH begged me to try the epidural before hand. I have been in so much pain the last 3 weeks and am only up and around thanks to Gabapenten and percocet. I spent 2 weeks in bed, barely able to move, before I was given that medication which now allows me to be a normal person.

                        But my right foot is numb and along with the residual numbness in my left foot from my last surgery I am really not a happy camper.

                        I am waiting on the dr to call and schedule my epi.


                        • #32
                          A word of advice to anybody having any type of injection. Under zero circumstances should you allow a doctor to inject your spine without a fluoroscope.
                          I have been getting a bit different than an epidural and am getting nerve root injections, and they are, in a word. G*DAMNEDEFFINGPAINFUL.
                          But, the results are amazing, at least for a little while


                          • #33
                            spine injections

                            I've had many L4/L5 injections with only the local. No problems. My pain management center does not recommend SI injections because the needle causes more trauma and can be worse than doing nothing especially with arthritis. You may want a second opinion on that part. The next day is great because of the numbing local. Then a day or two is a bit sore. Full effect is seen in a week or so. Often you get a repeat or 2 for full effect the firt time around at least. These have kept me riding without surgery. In fact I went from injections every 6 months to none in the last 18 months! Some back issues resolve themselves in time and this will improve your quality of life while you heal or the arthritis goes into partial remission.
                            Touchstone Acres Lipizzans, Standing N. Samira VI (Gray), N. XXIX-18(Black), more in 2014


                            • #34
                              Damn I'm jealous, people get sedation for spinal injections?? I was never told about that

                              That being said the two rounds I had weren't that bad, I'm pretty good at doing the deep breathing exercises that they teach you for child birth, so I just get into that routine and concentrate on relaxing the muscles in the affected area, be it back, knee, shoulders, all of which have been injected at one time or another.

                              I love the results, the first round on my back gave me 6 months respite, the second set, touch wood, 5 years and counting
                              I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

                              Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                                A word of advice to anybody having any type of injection. Under zero circumstances should you allow a doctor to inject your spine without a fluoroscope.
                                I have been getting a bit different than an epidural and am getting nerve root injections, and they are, in a word. G*DAMNEDEFFINGPAINFUL.
                                But, the results are amazing, at least for a little while

                                Could you talk more about your nerve root injections? Prior experience with your situation.
                                In a few weeks I have a 3rd opinion with a new neurologist and want to discuss nerve root injections. Last year I was in a riding accident. 2 back fractures and a TON of nerve pain.
                                Unless I stay "sedentary", the nerve pain is constant to varying degrees (dependent on what I do)....riding makes me a train wreck...

                                So, I am very interested in your positive response..it gives me HOPE!!



                                • #36
                                  I have had several (as in 8-9 injections over the past 6 years or so), and was never given the option of sedation. Some of the shots were, like, nothing but a pinch, but a couple of them were EXTREEMELY PAINFUL. One of the assistants told me that the pain meant the the dr hit the problem area. Have always enjoyed several months relief afterward. My problems are: bulging disk w/ sciatica, and SI joint disfunction, and have had injections at the nerve root between L4 and L5, and into the SI joint on the R.

                                  Not to hijack the thread, but does anyone else receiving epidural injections for pain relief worry about long term damage? My neuro wants me to see him next time I have a flare-up before I get another injection (of course, I have to wait for 5 weeks until they have an appointment slot!) I have discussed this with my pain doc and he says there IS evidence that the injections can weaken support structures the area, but they mostly worry about that in more active joints like knees and elbows.
                                  "Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."


                                  • #37
                                    Has anybody had the steroids make things worse?

                                    I previously had 3 caudal epidural injections for chronic tailbone pain and had no problems...but no relief either past about 48hrs.

                                    Last Thursday, the Dr. injected the coccygeal nerves. The injections were not painful at all but by Saturday night I could not lay down at all. My butt cheeks were throbbing and damn, it was a long night since I don't sleep well...except laying on my back.

                                    Last night I was able to use various pillows to keep my butt off the bed and a Norco at bedtime and I slept from like midnight until almost 10 this morning.

                                    Pain really pisses me off but I can cope with a lot IF I can get my sleep.

                                    Anyway, I sure hope this is a temporary event. If it is not considerably better by Thursday (the one week mark) there will not be any further injections.



                                    • #38
                                      I had my first epidurals yesterday, at L4 and L5 and have had great relief from the sciactica and lower back pain. I was sedated and glad for that. Will go in two weeks for a check up since I also have alot of injuries from a catastropic accident 3 months ago -- young horse I should have lunged first launched me into space and I had multiple fractures on the left - 8 ribs, shattered scapula, 2 breaks in my clavical and burst/compression fracture at T1 and a few lesser ones as well as a collapsed lung that had to be pumped out. Sooo -- along with already bulging disc throughout the lumbar area and carpal tunnel in both wrists and an old spinal fracture, I'm thinking about getting a vest -- any recommendations. I might have to let my ribs, etc. heal a bit more to wear one, but I want to protect all of that since I'm nearing 60. Don't really want to spend the $$ for the air vest -- what else is there that is protective? Have agreed to give up starting youngsters, but will be riding them once they are going. Thanks and good luck to all who are dealing with these issues.


                                      • #39
                                        It's been a week and a half since I had my injection and I feel exactly the same as I did on the medication I was taking. I am road testing the injection this week( i.e. running my dog, walking long distances, and wearing normal shoes.) I walked 2 miles last night and am having pain down the back of my leg.

                                        I am debating the second shot. Waiting to see if I am totally incapacitated again after I run agility on Saturday.

                                        Does anyone have any thoughts? I have preop on the 15th if I am going to go through with the surgery.

                                        Oh and BTW -the pharmacy screwed up and I didn't get my valium for my shot and it HURT LIKE HECK - even after I had taken TWO percocet.


                                        • #40
                                          My specialist has recommended having injections done in my low back as well. I didn't hear anything past "injections" as I kind of freaked out. I'm terrified of needles, to the point that I have to be sedated to have blood drawn, and I'm really scared to have my back done. I am on extremely high doses of pain medication and take Percocet/OxyContin and Dilaudid to function daily, which I'm sure isn't doing any good for my body.

                                          I've had chiro, massage, acupuncture, cold laser, ultrasound, physio, and just about everything else done to me to try and fix my back and reduce my pain levels, but nothing has worked so far. It's been so frustrating.

                                          It's good to see that the injections have helped so many, I'm just too scared to go and have it done