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Ideas for Athletes & Coaches Preparing for Real Competition


At various times in their careers, long term athletes might be prescribed a cortisone injection in a body part that has a niggling injury. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Also called Corticosteroid, it’s not a pain relieving medication, it only treats the inflammation.

When pain is decreased from cortisone it is because the inflammation has diminished. By injecting the cortisone into a particular area of inflammation, high concentrations of the medication can be given while keeping potential side-effects to a minimum.

They’re particularly useful in long-term injuries that are stubborn, even with extensive rest, physiotherapy and rehab exercises. I had an injection in my elbow after suffering tennis elbow for over a year. After the injection and a focused period of rehab, it steadily improved.

I first went for treatment for back pain in 1993. It hasn’t been around all the time, but just for periods here and there. It flared up enough in 2007 to keep me out of competition. At the time I got a MRI and the report said:

MRI bulging discModerate sized left paracentral disc protrusion at L4/L5 compressing the left L5 nerve root and probably the left L4 nerve root being irritated as well.

Symptoms weren’t there all the time, but were easy to bring on - I just had to sit in a chair for 10 minutes! Not a great lifestyle limitation! I type either standing up or lying down with the laptop on my tummy.

Today, after a period of unsuccessful physiotherapy, I had an epidural injection of Celestone (a brand of cortisone) between L4/L5 vertebrae to try move the injury forward faster. The procedure was relatively comfortable. That report said:

Under CT guidance, a 22 gauge needle was directed into the epidural space at L4/L5 towards to left side from a right approach. Two ampules of Celestone was administered, flushed in with a mixture of saline and contrast. Impression: Successful.

The early signs are good - practically no pain or discomfort. And most pleasingly, the serial tightness I had in my left hamstring and hip flexor muscles seems to have gone - both sides are now about equal in tightness. I believe the tightness was there because the disc was pushing on the nerve root just a little.

Of course, it’s not just about getting an injection and ’she’ll be right’. They’ll be a lot of core stability work, stretching, icing, walking and all that good stuff.

Anyway, today is just day 1 - for my benefit, and anyone who faces similar, I’ll come back to this post and insert updates below.

Day 1 - All fine, no pain in back, just iced it a few times.

Day 2 - A little trouble sleeping last night - they reckon insomnia is a possible side effect!

Day 3 - Back good - feels younger! Starting to do more core exercises. A little stiffer after sailing today, but still definitely better.

1 week - Still really happy with it. I’ve gradually worked it a bit harder and actually have some back soreness from some exercise yesterday, but it feels like regular muscle soreness rather than anything in the disc.

2 weeks - It’s still pretty good - I was worried for a few days but years of thinking about one spot on your body can do that! I can feel some stiffness develop after exercise, but it dissipates with icing and stretching.

3 weeks - Much the same.

1 month - Had some good days and not so good in terms of back discomfort, but I’ve been consistent with core and back exercises and have been able to increase the level of some of the back exercises. I feel less discomfort on a daily basis and consistently wake up less sore than before the injection. I should have had it sooner!

2 months - Improved some more. I don’t feel like it needs to be iced it as much - maybe just twice a day now. I’ve reduce anti-inflammatory drugs and have increased back and abdominal exercises without worry. So it feels like it’s on the up and up. I’m still just walking and a little bit of body-weight lifting for exercise, but hope to do a little jogging and even try cycling gently soon. By the way in the last few months I also read a book called Healing Back Pain and those with chronic back pain may also find it a very interesting read.

3 months - Still relatively good and have done a tiny bit of running plus a little more overall strength training for the back and rest of the body. I do like to keep icing it.

12 months - Went backwards a little a few months ago - got some pain in the back and my left hip when doing some exericse. I iced it, took anti-inflammatories and rested it and it settled down pretty well. It’s been ok since, but I’m still not running or cycling, just walking. I went to see a back surgeon recently and got a MRI. The MRI indicated the discs’ buldge had decreased but there was still a small tear. The Doc concluded he couldn’t make things significantly better by going under the knife. So, my daily exercises continue!

2 years - It’s been fantastic to read the comments from many readers (below). So many people suffer chronic lower back pain from buldging discs and it’s great to hear many have gotten some relief from cortisone injections. I wanted to list definite things that improve the condition (and if you’d like to comment about what’s worked for you, I’ll add it to the list):

Long-term non-invasive solutions:

  • Avoiding any activity that brings on pain
  • Wearing a back brace during activities. A brace will give little extra support when doing a lot of chores and driving, but avoid wearing it all the time. The Mueller Back Support is well liked by Amazon customers. However, I favor the strap arrangement and stiffer lumbar support in the Dr.MED Elastic Lumbo-Sacral Support.
  • Back and core stability exercises
  • Unweighting the spine with swimming, pool running, etc. (inversion tables are less likely to work)

Medium and short-term relief:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Ice - to help reduce inflammation after activity
  • Heat - to relax muscle spasms after periods of inactivity

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Category : Sports Injury


ian July 27, 2009

Hate to be a downer, but unless you work on correcting the underlying causes that led to your bulging disc, the pain WILL return, despite the short- to mid-term effect of the corticosteroid. I know, I’ve been there: first with spondylolisthesis and then over ten years later and bad case of sciatica. Both have been completely (I hope!) cured without any drugs or operations.

Best of luck.


larry wilson September 1, 2009

i have had (4) cortisone injections in my r. shoulder (ac joint). it wasn’t until #4 that pain disappeared. i haven’t had problems with it in almost 2 years! my back is messed up now. i have (3) bulging discs and am contemplating cortisone injections in that area too. (2) of my friends needed (2) injections each in that area and have been pain-free for about a year now. i thank you for your post. it has helped me decide to opt for the cortisone injection. hope you continue to remain pain-free! (i just prayed that Jesus keeps you this way)

Neville September 25, 2009

I have been suffering from right hip pain and sciatica for 2 months, went to the doc, had a CT scan and my report came back word for word of michaels and now i am to go and have a cortisone injection so will let you know how i get on..

Michael September 27, 2009

Good luck Neville, I look forward to news of your pain disappearing.

murat October 13, 2009

last month i had corticion inj.my L4/L5 disc,iwas suffering pain 24 hrs,after inj.i m still having pain on my right leg when i seat .i dont know
what next,i stop training martial art,walking makew pain goes away,keep walking boys lifes good

stephen patrick May 2, 2010

hi, i had a l5 s1 disc operation dec 09. Im 6FT 4 carpenter and its been hell ever since. Two weeks out from hospital had an infection in the wound separated the scar causing mass pain in lower back and left leg. 5 months on still in pain and due to go in for injections in the lower back to break up the scar tissue aroound the nerve. i heard so many blogs websites for this sort of back complaint and operation. I feel its down to each person and the surgen they have. steve

Jill May 13, 2010

Last Friday I had my first spinal block and cortisone injections on L4/5 space and I have already felt some improvements in the pain. However, my neurosurgeon told me to rest up for 3 weeks and he’ll see me in 4 weeks. I’m just wondering if I should be on a bed or walking or exercising during this time.

admin May 13, 2010

Hi Jill,
Good question - personally, I was told to take it real easy for 3-4 days post-injection to make sure it had a chance to work. But from there, I began walking regularly. I think the little muscles around the spine need exercise, but I’d certainly avoid any heavy lifting, jarring or excessive twisting.

Jill May 16, 2010

Thanks - I have just been bed resting for a couple of hours, then walking around the house and garden. It’s tempting to lift a broom or clip a bush, but, no, I am not tempting fate! You see, I have had three previous back operations (laminectomies, discectomy) and I don’t need to go there any more, thank you. They were separate work-related incidents, but now it is probably scar tissue on the sciatic nerve at L5. If this doesn’t work, and it seems to be, I don’t know where else to go to rid myself of this pain. I’m a teacher and need to be able to bend and walk and stand and ……!

David (Australia) May 19, 2010

Hi, I have read this blog with interest. Thank you for your honest comments. I have surgery in 1985 (L4/5) and have lived and managed pain on and off for the last 25 years by exercise and oral anti inflamatory. Things have got bad in the last month and the recomendation made that I should try cortisone injection into the facet joint. This is scheduled for next wednesday. I will come back and let you know how it goes.

Lee May 25, 2010

I am only 23!!!! I am a carpenter and have probably always lifted things that are far to heavy! I am very fit and healthy! I was a boxer for a while and I did a bit of rock climbing. I started having pain in my lower back when I came back from a backpacking holiday. I lived in Cyprus for 10months then when to Australia for 10months then backpackd through Asia back to England. I started getting lower back pain that progressively got worse! I am not working because the pain is to much! I started going to see a Physio through NHS and I got a student. She told me it would not be a disk as i am to young, and gave me streaches to do. They made the pain worse. So i paid for a MRI and it says
“axial views show no significant disc herniation or neural compression at L5/S1 though there is a minimal right sided posterior disc bulge, which lies adjacent to the S1 nerve root.
At L4/5 there is a diffuse and mainly the left sided disk protrusion. This is sufficient enough to be causing some moderate lateral recess narrowing here in relation to the left L5 nerve root. The central lumbar canal remains of adequate proportions, and although disc material extends to the right there does not appear to be major right L5 nerve root compression.
I am now seeing a chiropractor and they recommend a Cortisone injection. I am flying back to Australia on the 5th June and will have to work hard to earn some good money to gain a Visa. So this would be a quick fix and I would be able to get on with things.
Do you recommend I have it or shall i try and rest before i leave and see how things go??????????

Jill June 2, 2010

Hi Lee, yes, you are very young but your back has done more than most people at 50! Good for you. One of those activities, however, must have extended your back’s capabilities and you have to get it fixed. Yes, in my opinion, the cortisone injection is worth trying before any operation. My injections happened three weeks ago and have improved things, but I still have some problems. I see my neurosurgeon again next Wednesday who will revise my situation.

Being a carpenter is a good trade here but I’m wondering, as you are so young, if you might consider re-training at a job less demanding on your back.

Brian June 30, 2010


Do the shot friend. Age 43 myself, life long athlete and Firefighter, 10 year history of sciatica and bulging discs. Much relief, just need to adjust (sadly) the workouts to no more deadlifts, light squats only, and a ton of caution lifting things from ground level. Just had a shot yesterday, gotta take it easy I guess for next week or so before hitting the gym again.

Brian July 22, 2010

Hey all, just an update.

Been almost a month now since last shot and I feel great. Playing softball and hockey again, going to gym as well. Got to watch the lifts, no bending to pick up heavy stuff, gotta be real careful. But pain free and active. Sure beats the last year of pain and depression. Try to stretch out every day and rest when needed. Hope this helps.

jeremy July 25, 2010

i hurt my back bending akwardly to pick up about 50 pounds at work.i’ve had 3 epideral shots in the bottom of my spine and cortizone shots 1 time but the dr. stuck me 6 to 8 times and now my back is worse.what should i do next?

Brian July 26, 2010

How long ago were the shots? And were the 6-8 sticks all at the same appointment? Or over a period of time? Were you ever given an MRI and if so what did they say?

K Dougherty July 27, 2010


Get a new doctor. One who does not blindly inject.

Doug August 7, 2010

Here’s the problem

I received cortisone injection #1. Those of you that have had epidurals know the sensation of pressure you feel as the drugs go into your spine. It is a very distinct feeling…not a comfortable feeling. But I, at the same time feel relief knowing that the medicine is going in and doing it’s thing.
Afterwards my pain was cut by 50% within hours. It was still acute but much less so.
When I received injection #2 same procedure as always (I have had several spinals prior to this last series) only this time after the local anesthesia came the 22 gauge… then nothing. There was not the slightest sensation of anything, and then the doctor said “that’s it”. The procedure was over very quickly and I thought “wow that was the best stick I ever got!”
I said, “You’re kidding!”
He said, “Nope, it’s over.”
Only thing is there was also absolutely no pain relief, either.
There was no pain or weird sensation that has been associated consistently with every other epidural I have ever received, before or since. It over way too quickly. Normally the cortisone injection is given slowly but this went quickly, like a quick shot. And then there was absolutely no change in pain level, even initially. No inkling of pain level change.
A week later I asked to speak to the Doctor and I told him that nothing happened, but I did not mention the odd operating room experience, or lack thereof.
He apologized and told me it sometimes things don’t work for some reason and hopefully the next and last shot would help like the first one did.
And, fact, it did.
I received the routine shot, felt the routine pressure, two hours later I was at home with very little pain.
I’m told by the staff that some folks require a fourth shot. Really?
Something’s fishy, so beware.
What should I do? Who should I tell? Should I just leave it alone?

Stephen August 16, 2010

I have had 3 disc bulges since 1990.And have L5/S1 disc bulge at present I saw my nerosurgeon today and she suggested a Lateral Recess Cortisone injection into my spine.Does this work or go under the knife for the 4th time.

kim fogarty September 14, 2010

I was very interested in reading everyones experiences. I am 42 and have always been active and fit. I have experienced back pain for over 10 mths

After various treatments such as physio,acupuncture,chiro and deep tissue massage and being reassured that with time and core muscle excersise i would get better i finally couldnt handle the pain and misery anymore(neither could my family) and a doctor suggested a ct scan. Bingo! a disgnosis of disc buldge at L5 S1. Sounds strange but i was really excited to have a resaon for my leg back and hip pain.

Yesterday i had a cortosone injection ,not a pleasant experience but i figure worth it if it worksI woke up with much less pain in my hip and hamstring but as the day went on slight tingling and pain returned but not half as bad as was. My plan is to rest for the next couple of days and then to start my core muscle excersises and walking on day 3. I am a bit nervous to start my personal training again in case i do more damage but have been advised that building up leg and glute muscles again will help along with core. Any comments for training would be welcome. Obviously no half marathon this year but to be pain free and have gratitude for my health is my goal.

Anne-Maree September 18, 2010

it’s great to be able to see how other people are coping.
I am 29 years old and am currently trying to treat a disc bulge at l4/l5 which is inpinging on the nerve root, causing sciatic pain. I also had a disc bulge in Jan 09 but did not cause sciatic pain. I have been trying to get better for 6 months now, i have had my second epidural about 10 days ago, and i can’t see that it is working…does it take longer than this to work?? everything i read says 3-5days? i have remedial massage twice a week, hydrotherapy seemed to agrivate my condition. I am taking an anti-inflamatory once a day, some one has suggested oral cortisone…has anyone else tried this…and did it work? I am seeing a neurosurgeon in a week and a half and am really scared they are going to want to operate…i hope i can avoid it, but at the same time get better! 29 years married for not even 12 months…the biological clock is ticking away in the background and have children seems like a lifetime away at the moment!

matt October 7, 2010

I am 32 years old and I am a marble mason my job requires me to lift alot I am 5ft 9 150lbs and often times I carry 400 lbs plus.I hurt my back at work and under the care of a doctor who is in talks about these shots,my problem is I havnt had a mri or any thing stating that its a disc issue what do i do?also if i get these shots would i be able to participate in lifting marble and granite again?I have been in this trade for 13 years and am now feeling it.

Alain October 26, 2010

Thank you all, this blog helped me decide in whether or not to go for that lower back cortisone injection tomorrow or not. The decision has been a positive yes. I had fusion done to the the right side of L4/L5 disc back in 1977, (Age 22). Problems and on going pain with swealling of scar tissue throughout my life. I’m now 55 years old, I decided to go for a CT scan 2 weeks ago. Results, not good at all. Impression: Changes of degenerative disc disease at L2-3, L3-4 and L4-5 (opposite side of surgery) . There’s an element of aquired central canal stenosis at L3-4. Advanced degenerative facet arthropathy as noted. At L5-S1, there’s central bulging of the disc and moderate degenerative facet arthropathy present bilaterally. Am not able to sleep on either my left or right side, not even with propped up pillows or a firm mattress. I also suffer from cronic insomnia (hereditary in my fathers side of the familly). So, when’s the last time I had a good sleep?, I dont remember. Hopefully this cortisone shot(s) in my lower back will help, I pray to GOD that it will so that I may get some painless sleep. I will let you all know the results as my diagnoses progresses.

Bill November 1, 2010

I am a firefighter in Virginia for a military base, I am 50 years old and only have 21 mos till I am elligible to retire. I work a regular shift with 24 hours on and 24 hours off. After my shift was over I went home and decided to take maybe a two or three hour nap. The shift before was nothing special, only standard training. After I woke up I realized my knee was hurting, I just thought it was because of the tear in my knee. Alittle bit later my left side was hurting down from my hip to knee. After an MRI I found out it was a bulging disk on my L-4. I am going for my cortosone injection on the 12th of Nov. i really hope it works out because I would like to go back to work before the year is out. I will write more after I get my shot, thanks for letting me vent.

Kiara November 5, 2010

I am a 19 year old carpenter with severe back, neck, hammy(right), calf and arch of right foot pain. Before I started working as a carpenter, about 4 years ago, i developed some intermittent pain in my lower lumbar spine. Saw the local chiro for a few years, spent ridiculous amounts of money, quick fix, no worries. However, gradually, over the last 4 years, my back pain has increased and spread to basically everything you can see on the back face of my body.
I’ve seen 2 physios, with varrying opinions on problem and treatment, 2 doctors who both are adament I have sacroiliitis, I’ve had plain xrays, plenty of blood work done, and I am booked in for an MRI next week. Both doctors have told me steroid injections are the way to go. Im not so keen on that idea.. The risks involved in cortisone injections seem very high for a 50/50 chance of SOME pain relief.

Over the last few weeks I’ve started getting pain in my right wrist and right knee, and what started as severe morning pain in my right arch has now become daily 24/7 pain that is extreme enough to retrict walking at times.

Was good to see there are others out there as frustrated as me. I’m not satisfied as of yet that anybody has actually tried to find the source of the pain. I’m really running out of ideas, and am now suffering various other ailments due to the headaches, lack of sleep, and constant pain, not to mention the medical bills on apprentice wages. I want to be a fine furniture maker, that is my absolute passion in life and not following through on that dream is really not an option right now.
It would be very much appreciated if anyone had any information at all, please feel free to comment.

Appologies for such a long post


Gerry December 4, 2010

From Ontario, Canada

Much back pain in lumbar area since 1988 from back injury. Chiropractor & doctors told me cortisone was bad as it weakened muscles and wasn’t permanent. Now told different-have been trying to get shot for the past year and getting bounced around from doctor to surgeon to doctor. Still no shot. MRI’S in the past 20 years showed disc problems but told not bad enough to go under knife so just kept using pills with minor results. Any advice on how to get a shot without all the run around.

Kate December 31, 2010

First, I want to thank everyone for leaving these posts. They give me a sense of comfort that I’m not alone in this. I recently had an MRI and was told that I have a broad base bulge in my L5 which is hitting my S1 nerve. The pain rests on my left lower back and down my left leg. I can’t sit still for long periods of time nor stand still such as in lines. The doc gave me a cortisone shot on 12/20/10 and I had a couple days where I would feel some relief for a little bit, but the pain is usually still there and frustrating me to no end. I haven’t gone to the gym in fear of making it worse, but it’s making me feel lazy and out of shape. I have a wedding coming up and i want this to be resolved so I can look good for the big day!!! Hopefully, the second shot will give me some pain relief which is scheduled for next week. Anyone out there have any advice on the working out aspect? I want to be able to get my heart rate up with some cardio, but I’m so nervous of making the disc worse. Please help!!!

admin December 31, 2010

Thanks for sharing. Some exercise might be ok as long as it avoids pounding (eg, running), compression of the spine (eg, squats) or excessive or prolonged twisting or bending (eg, cycling, rowing)… basically anything that brings on pain. I found walking to be a good exercise to start with - stairs and hills will get the heart rate up.

Greg Hamilton January 6, 2011

Hello Everyone
I am a 51 year (young) Male, and I have been fighting back pain for about the last 10 years. I am a Heavy Truck and Coach Mechanic, so you can see from that , all my work is Physical. At this present moment, I will tell you all the injured areas in my back.
- T10-T11 Disc Bulge, Moderate Spinal Canal and Bilateral Neural Foraminal Stenosis.
- L1-L2 Decrease in intervertebral disc space, and signal changes at the endplates. Disc Bulge and left paramedian disc protrusion with 6mm inferior migration. Moderate Spinal Canal and Bilateral Neural Foraminal Stenosis.
-L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5 Disc Bulge however, no spinal canal and/or Neural Foramina Stenosis.
-L5-S1 Disc Bulge and Right Paramedian Disc Extrusion indenting The Thecal Sac, displacing but not compressing the Right S1 Nerve Root
- Multilevel Degenerative Disc Disease more prominent at L1-L2 and L5-S1
This was taken right from my MRI Results. In the past I have done all kinds of excecises to strenghten all the muscles through out my back and abdominal regions. About 6 years ago I went to a Specialist that sugested that I try Cortisone Injections, to try and control my pain. I went and had 4 injection the first year (all at once done by fluoroscopy). I couldnt beleave how good I felt after about 3 days. I was Pain Free. Those shots lasted for me for about a year, and then I started getting a dull pain back. I went again , but this time they had passed Legislation here in Canada , stating that 4 injections of Cortisone at once was to much for the body to handle, so my next 4 injections were done on a weekly basis.( 1 every week for 4 weeks) so that also meant a day off work after each shot to allow the Cortisone to disperse properly , and not ball up in one spot. Again it worked wonders for me, and again I was Pain Free for this time over a year. Now I went for 3 more years worth of injections. At the start of my Injections, The MRI was done and showed Degenerative Disc Disease and that was all. In this last year now I started having a fair bit of pain again, so in November 2010 had my Dr send me for a MRI once again just to see what was going on. WELL was I in shock of what we found, and that is all the above damage with the exception of the Degenerative Disc Disease. The Cortisone does work wonders for taking the inflamation pain away, in my case it acutually worked to good, and now I am in pretty ruff shape as I speak. I am on Gabapentin 900mg a day, it helps to control pain due to nerve damage, Non Narcotic, Non Dependent.
Needless to say I am off work, with no Idea when I will return, and even if I can return to this trade.
I have talked enough here, but just wanted you all to know, PLEASE BE CAREFULL with Cortisone Injections, as they do work, but you really have to Moderate Your Self and always keep in your Head, That you are INJURED.
Take Care

Mary January 9, 2011

Need some help….Just had a cortizone shot for a long term back problem. Been a long time since last flare up. Worked over the yrs to get into the best shape of my life, Run, work out, hiked 100K in Spain this past summer in 5 days. Turned 50!
But my issue is on day three, my leg and foot has become numb?Pain in lower lumbar is better but Is this a normal (not damage) side effect? Little scared, Anyone else experence this?

Matt January 21, 2011

G’day from Sydney, Australia.

Thanks to all who have posted before me-sharing the experience of those that have similar issues and have undergone cortisone injection treatment/s.

I have L3/4 L4/5 L5/S1 bulges with a significant bulge at L3/4 causing nerve impingement and resultant pain and numbness in right leg.

46 years old but still very fit, active and surfing etc. daily.

I’m a surfer/kitesurfer/stand up paddle surfer and the stresses and strains have taken their toll. Up until 3 months ago flare ups have resolved after 10-12 days-this related to L4/5 and L5/S1 bulges-the L3/4 is new having occurred 3 months ago and caused persistent pain in the back and leg pain,

Numerous osteo/physio treatments and 2 MRIs 2 months apart - and finally a sports doc specialist resulted in diagnosis of large posterolateral disc protrusion with inferior extension along the right posterolateral aspect of the right L4 vertebral body with compression of the right L4 nerve root within the lateral process.

Suggested treatment was steroidal injection at the site.

Decided upon the the CT guided injection-went in today 21/1/11 and the attending physician noted that the disc protrusion had reduced since the MRI a week ago-still went ahead with the procedure.

I’m a wimp with injections and found the procedure quite uncomfortable-particularly the injection of the cortisone and the long lasing anaesthetic (1ml of each if I recall correctly)

I’ll come back here to report on progress.

One complicating factor is hip pain which I have-also had MRI report at same time as lumbar-diagnosis of CAM lesion, labral tears and fissuring of the labrum along its length. Need to determine whether pain is as a result of L4 protrusion or hip - or combo of both.

Pain has been very annoying and debilitating-but better to have worn out than rusted out ;-)….


Louis January 25, 2011

I am 24 years old. Professionnal firefighter, hockey player, football player…
i hurt my lower back when i was deadlifting in the gym and after aggravate it on the job. Low back pain for almost a year before got an MRI, result l4l5 bulged disc and l5s1 hernied disc.
Got the non traumatic surgery for a L5S1 hernied disc in L.A, since that im better but far from being 100%. I speak with with my neuro surgon and he told me that getting and epidural shot was not a bad idea so i m supose to go in a couple week.
hope its gonna work!

Private Citizen January 26, 2011

To Gerry,

I too live in Ontario, so your best bet if you are looking for cortisone shots, seek out an MD in the field of Anti-Aging, Geriatrics, or experience with injections.

As with everybody on this blog, my back is screwed from bulging discs and degernative disc disease.

Down here in Windsor, the doctor I use in Dr. Barnhard, of the Barnhard Wellness Institute. I’ve been getting cortisone shots from him in office, and the man knows allllll the right points!! I think at this moment I have about 30 refills. He is one skilled gent, and I believe he used to be the guy that put you under before surgeries, but who knows.

I have several hot spots that he hits, and generally lasts 1 1/2 mos, with a 5ml vial 40mg/ml of Depo Medrol. I usually make appointments for every 2 weeks, because when it wears off, OMG! But if all is well, I just cancel that appointment and book it again in another 2 weeks.

As with everybody, I’ve lived hard, played hard, and worked hard, but if I knew then what I know now, well……

I use a therapy of walking (still working with heavy toolbelt & ladders), instant heat compresses for that disgusting morning pain, a TENS unit about 3hrs at night, a Motrin and an Ativan to help me sleep? Also mild stretching, since I do enough stretching in my trade. I was on narcotics to kill the pain for about 1 1/2 years, but as soon as I hit 8mg of Dilaudid and it wasn’t affecting me, enough was enough, plus I must be narcotic sensitive, because the crap only kept me awake at night.

So, to make a long story short, Google the gent in Windsor, and maybe you’ll get some ideas. Godspeed to ALL of US!!

Karen January 27, 2011

I am a 53 year old active woman who has been a desk worker for over 30 years. My story is similar to many here and I just had my second round of cortisone shots. First in L3/L4 and second in L4/L5. This has provided much relief but now I am afraid to get back into my water skiing, Zumba and other routines. I have started Water Walking classes through the local school system. This allows me to get my heart rate up and to keep in shape. We use various aids for different exercises and I feel I am getting the advantages of exercise without the joint strain or risk to my back.

Patrick January 28, 2011

Thanks for all posts. I finally got an mri after 10yrs of Drs saying I needed referals- they didnt want to be bothered, GO TO AN ORTHO. spec. Had one in office. Result bulging disc L1s1, i think-tailbone. Not bad enough for surgery. Im 44yo told maybe cortizone shots would relieve pain. Not to do it until the pain was UNBEARABLE. Otherwise chiro, streches, lose the gut, no heavy lifting and anti-inflam. Pills. I have 5yrs to get 30yrs in retirement system. Has there been anyone who recovered without shots? Im not too thrilled about what Ive heard and read. But if it gets worse than this OMG! My heart goes out to you, I see Im not that bad off, I just dont want to get worse. Thanks-and feel better ALL! Ps im a school custodian.

Terrina January 28, 2011

Thank you all for all your experiences and solutions for this debilitating problem that so many of us are made to share. I am 44 and used to enjoy a very active lifestyle. ( Squash was my favourite!)
My L5 and S1 hernitated protruding disc sound similar to all of the above senarios. Constant pain radiating from the spine, buttock, hamstring, calf and foot. I must say that the pain is extremely alienating personally as well as pysically debilitating. I feel that I must atempt to conseal my pain from my loved ones , so not to sound like a whinging “sook”. But the tears and frustration finally surface sooner or later. I believe that I have a considerable high pain threshold but the last 4 months pain has been horrendous! Like the majority of you all here , I have done physio and chiropartor visits. I feel the chiro worked best out of the 2. Pain killers and valium are not for me but was all I was offered until the anti inflams that I started yesterday. I am off for my first Cortisone injection next Monday and after the variety of results above I am interested to hopefully get a good result. I will update your all next week.

Private Citizen January 29, 2011

Just remember one thing, once the cortisone starts to wear off, OMG, you’ll be eating your fingers!! So, with that being said, try to follow my treatment of cortisone with repeats, and make and break appointments as the pain slowly comes back, because that one day will come, and then BAM! back to square one with the pain.

Godspeed All

Theresa February 17, 2011

Theresa from Queensland, Aus.

I finally found a blog page that has many of the answers to my questions, thanks guys!

I have had back problems since the age of 15. Too many ortho surgeons, physios and alike that I’ve had to see over the years to mention. Now, after proving most of them wrong in their diagnosis of how my life would be I am now at the stage where age (only 45) or more so the age of the injury is affecting me greatly.

I am having my first Cortisone injection next Tuesday. I can’t beleive that after nearly 31 yrs with this injury , an abundance of medications etc that have failed to give releif a Doctor has finally offered this injection to me (CT Scan). L5/S1, both hips and have just been told I now have Osteoarthritis through the lot also. (And the bulging disc, occassional nerve interuption)

I was concerned about having the injuection but figured, “what the hell” nothing else has ever worked. I will still need surgery within the next 12 months.

Today I sit here typing on this blog, pleased that I can read stories similar to mine. I work in retail part time and am also a circuit coach for a worldwide womens fitness co. I can’t imagine or remember what it’s like to wake up without back pain, so I look forward to this injection and hope that I can finally have some relief no matter how long for.

I’ll let you know how I go with it.

Thanks everyone, Have a great one!

Terrina February 17, 2011

Hello Theresa,
I felt the same when I found this site.It is great to know we are not the only ones suffering in our own little world of pain!
I had my first injection on the 31st of January, Although I was not worried prior to the event, once they explained it thoroughly and commenced the procedure, I found it a little “daunting.” It was a bit painful but the sensation of the needle was unusual to say the least.
For 2 days I kept telling my husband I felt like I was 16 uears old again! I was 100% painless. THis was unusual as the ” cortizone” did not take effect until day three. This is when I went back to “normal” pain through buttocks, hamstring , behind knee , calf and foot! However about one week later all numbness and pain has stopped! I feel great!
I realise all patients have different results but I highly recommend this treatment to every one to at least try! Good luck to all!

Private Citizen February 19, 2011

Hi Terrina,

Glad all went well: ) Just remember, it is only a temporary fix, so with that being said, don’t go doing the things that you used to that brought the pain on. Be mindful that the condition still exists, but the cortisone is just masking the pain. Keep doing the excercises, the chiro, or physio, or whatever other treatment you were doing.

I have been investigating a couple of other types of treatments, along with cortisone. One is called Prolotherapy and the other is called Cupping. You can all do some reading on these, and they have videos on YouTube.

Godspeed to All of Us!!

Theresa February 19, 2011

Hi Terrina,
After researching I was/am still a tad worried about the injuection or moreso the results. But, I have to try something.
Can anyone tell me how long the effects of cortisone last?
Finally succumb and bought myself some crutches, now I can move a bit more freely and threaten the kids with them lol. The crutches in no way releive the pain but makes it easier to get around. Thank God I have good muscle strength in my arms and shoulders. Well, I’ll post here on Tuesday afternoon and let you know how it went.
Have a great weekend all.

Private Citizen February 19, 2011

Hi Theresa,

There is nothing to worry about, I can assure you. I’ve had more than 2 dozen of these shots, and an epideral. The epideral didn’t do much. As for how long they last, each person is different, and their activities are different too. Mine usually last about 1 1/2 to 2 months, but I still work, wear a heavy toolbelt, climb ladders, bend & crouch, and stretch to reach certain areas. Remember to relax for a couple of days after the shots, so that the cortisone can be absorbed fully, and that is the main key. After that point, you will feel a WHOLE lot better, trust me!!

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, you will know when it is starting to wear off, when the pain starts to come back. Then you’ll be able to get somewhat of a timeline of which areas lose it faster than others. At that time, make another appointment for another round of shots.

Hope this helps, good luck, and Godspeed!!

Theresa February 22, 2011

Hi All,
Thanks for your info Private Citizen, the more info the bettter. Had just one shot in the L5S1 area, they decided not to do the others as the main area seems to be here and putting pressure on the root nerve?? Anyway, had the shot at 11am, didn’t hurt at all, rested all afternoon and feeling some mild pain but nothing like before. Have prepared myself for what may come. Have time off work, so all good there.

I had an MRI 2 weeks ago for a whiplash injury (separate to this, please rub me out and start again lol) and it seems that I have 6 “bulging discs”. Anyway, I can’t understand how none of this has been detected before.

So, today is going ok and I’ll keep posting my progress. Thanks you for your input, it has helped me so much.

Have a fantastic day

Private Citizen February 22, 2011

Hi Theresa,

Glad all went well!! The mild pain you are feeling is the needle because the lidocaine is wearing off, generally it wears off within 3 hours post injection. The mild pain will last another day or two, then you’ll feel like going for a nice short walk, but don’t overdue it, since cortisone absorbs slowly and you don’t want it to crystalize prior to absorption. I have an appointment today as well for another shot, but my MD hits the root as well as a little way along it, about 6 inches away from the L4/5. I guess we’ll both be feeling alot better this week, eh? lol

Sorry to hear about your whiplash injury, but that one is easier to treat with decompression therapy in physio. I know, it still hurts like the dickens, eh?

Take Care and Godspeed

Theresa February 23, 2011

Hey Private Citizen, good luck with today, if this one doesn’t work they will inject near the root. Sounds painful but see what happens. Just to wake up for a few days without feeling like a 90 year old would be good lol! The whiplash is moreso the headaches, wow, I never knew those headaches could be worse than a migraine. Talk about a test of will. However, there are many out there worse off than I can imagine so I am thankful that I can cope for the most part.

Anyway, bye for now, look after yourself.

For everyone that has a positive experience with a cortisone injection, I am very happy it went well for you and offered relief. I would just suggest that you look at some of the long term side effects of corticosteroid shots. In the long run they are really damaging for your joints and you do not want to get more then you absolutely have to. Often times non invasive techniques like chiropractic care, non-surgical spinal decompression, core strengthening, physio-therapy, and therapeutic movements can also help tremendously.

Private Citizen February 27, 2011

Hey Dr. John, thanx for chiming in.

I have weighed the long term side effects, and decided that the shots are the most cost effective. All the treatments you listed I have tried, and without coverage, costs a MINT. If I was a rich person, yes, I would go the traditional route, but most of us are not, and after one spinal decompression treatment, I thought I bought the whole machine for what I paid that session. Helped, yes, for a bit, until that gravity reality thing kicked in two days later. Again, did it help, not my wallet it didn’t, lol. The excercises do help alot, and I don’t need to go and pay for physio when all excercises are on the internet and YouTube.

Also, going forward, Elavil 10mg, a TENS unit, and a sodium acetate heating belt (Click n’ Heat) at night for 3 hrs also helps tremendously.

But each person is different, and we all have to find our own niche in treatments and affordability.

Thanx again for the advise.

Godspeed to You and Your’s.

Theresa March 6, 2011

Hi All. Well, Cortisone Injuection hasn’t worked. So back to the Doc’s. I have been put on a “patch” Buprenorphine (10mg). Little did I know that this is in the Morphine family and that here in Aus it’s given to herion addicts to get them off the drugs!
Anyway, always said that I wouldn’t do the Morphine thing but at the moment there is no other option apparently. So put the patch on Friday at midnight and now Sunday afternoon, slight relief but nothing remarkable. Still hurts like hell to sit, walk and stand for any short amount of time. This sounds stupid, but it’s like my body rejects pain relief? Has anyone else had this problem? Nothing seems to work.
Have a referral to a Surgeon at the Gold Coast. Dr Matthew Scott-Young, apparently a miracle worker, if my back can be fixed he’s the one to do it (I shudder at the thought of the cost!) I have googled him and most comments are very positive.
So that’s the latest, I am grateful that this site is here to have my whinge and find info.
I hope you are all doing well. Will keep posting.
Bye for now, Theresa

Alan April 14, 2011

Hi all,
Very interesting site and comments.
I’m a 29yr old stonemason going for cortisone into L4/L5 after MRI showed disc bulge.
Started 2-3 yrs ago with left groin pain and usual occasional lower back pain and my mum pushed me to go see about it.
Long story made short!!
1. Docs and consultants diagnosed me as having a hernia.
2. Ultrascan doc then concluded i’d a right and a left side hernia.
3. Surgeon went keyhole, looked around, stitched me up and when i came round told me i’d no hernia’s.
4. Ultrasound doc was suspended.
5. Pushed in every direction to try to get to the bottom of this and after a lot of trouble and time running by they sent me for MRI as my back was going into constant spasms. It showed disc bulge at L4/L5.
6. Seen another consultant who let me decide to either go for op or cortisone. Have opted for cortisone as it seems relatively low risk and see what happens as i felt quite ill after hernia operation i think from the anesyetic?

Inbetween all these events i had seen privately chirop, physios, ostiopaths, etc and none really done anything except take £ but i didn’t mind because i looked at it as a process of elimination.

It really does put me at the end of my tether as i feel my life is slipping away because theres so many things i can’t do anymore (running, rugby, mountains, motorbike, even just sitting) never mind my profession which has made me into a deligator now as i can only show my workers what to do.

A plasterer i met advised me to try cortisone, but my question to u all for now is……….

What is my best way to help myself after this procedure???

He advised cycling, no running. Swimming was another.

I really am determined to try and let this work to the best it can.

Thanks to anyone who takes time to share these experiences as it eases the mind a little.



Private Citizen April 15, 2011

Hi Alan, we know your pain. If you read my posts, these were the best therapys for me. Cortisone is awesome, but, only get shots when you REALLY need them, and not for just minor pain. I wouldn’t do biking, since it puts your spine out of alignment. Walking is the best, as well as some excercises found on YouTube. Just type in lower back excersises. After the shots, you might feel like a million bucks, but remember that the pain is only masked, not cured, so therefore you may have to give up some of the things you like to do, such as the rugby, since I don’t think you are getting paid to do it? I myself have stopped playing baseball, I love it as well, but don’t get paid for it. The choice is really, making money, paying the rent, supporting the family, etc., or playing/doing things that could create more injury/pain?

The choice is yours, and remember, cortisone is NOT a cure.

Godspeed Alan, and Good Luck!!

Troy April 18, 2011

I have had back pain since I was a 13 year old kid. I am now 43 living with this back pain for over 30 years. Its been kinda like a marraige sometimes its good and sometimes its a living hell. However like a marraige you have to work through it. I have been told by many Doc’s that I need surgery, shots and adjustments but the only thing that has worked for me was my mind. Yes I have days where it takes everything I have to get out of bed and yes I have many days in a row that I cant even bend over to put my socks on but I push through the pain to live my life to the fullest. I snowmobile, run and ride motorcyles and my back reminds what I can and cant do at times but I dont let it win.
For the last 3 days the pain has been off the chart but I refuse to let it beat me. I feel the power of my mind over my body will get me through this rough spot. Dont get me wrong I do see a chiro sometimes and I do take over the counter med, I ice and heat alot and work out 3 to 4 times a week. However I feel we have the most powerful tool within our self, our mind. I had on Doc say to me ” you can let the pain control you and destroy your life or you control the pain in your head and start living ” At first I thought you have no clue how bad it hurt come walk or should I say craw a mile in my shoes and say that… However as time went by it started to make sence to me. I was 22 years old when that Doctor said that and to this day I still repeat that in my head everytime the pain stops me from doing something… I am not say the pain is just in your head …. its not!!! its real and from my personal experience the pain can drop you like a rock and leave me wishing someone to shot me and put me out of my missery , but i craw back up and I work through it. Before you do surgery or shots try putting your mind to work to manage the pain. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. For me the pain never has gone away but most days to me it just like back ground noise thatI can live with. I hope this will help someone with there back pain, just dont give up and give in to the pain.


Tammy April 21, 2011

UGH. I am a Massage Therapist with 3 bulging discs in my cervical area and 2 in the lumbar. Have lived with pain for years, but never to the point where it has effected my quality of life..or ability to work. The abitlty to work factor is quite problematic! I am considering injections, but it seems like some folks on here get them and are able to return to relatively strenuos activities and some not. I give deep tissue massage and it is taxing on my own body. It’s tough work. It’s the only work I have known for the past 20 years. At 48, I don’t want to give it up. Hoping getting injections are helpful…or I am in big trouble….
Amazing how many people have this issue!

Boo1970 April 25, 2011

I am so glad I found this site because there is some truly great information here. I am a 40 yo male and initially injured my back in the middle of December doing CrossFit. After about two months of pain I decided to go to see an Ortho Surgeon in February and he pretty much diagnosed an herniated disc, which was confirmed by the MRI.

Anyway, I have put off the injection because I thought that PT and exercise on my own would be enough but now I am thinking perhaps the shot would actually help me get more out of everything else and speed my recovery along. Is this a correct assessment?

Private Citizen April 27, 2011

Hey Boo, you have to evaluate your own decision. I personally feel you should try to rehab it first without the injection, because you need to know first what hurts, what you do hurts, and if you are doing the excercises correctly. I would put up with the pain until you just can’t take it anymore. Read some of the other posts on different stuff you can do before, and self-evaluate the degree of pain, and whether you need the shot now. Remember, this will not speed the recovery, it will just mask the pain. I thought when I had my first shot I could get back into doing all the things I did, like baseball, but I put that thought out of my head because I KNEW I was still injured. My main concern was work and supporting my family, ’cause baseball don’t pay the bills, eh?

Hope this helps.

Carlos May 5, 2011

I got my second shot in my lower back and it really helped a lot but this weekend I went to las Vegas and hurt my back again while dancing. I’m 32 years old and vie been going thru this for a year. The pain came back stronger than bfor. I hope I dint injure myself some more. I go for my third shot in 7 days Any suggestions? Or coments.

Paro May 16, 2011

Thank u for this post & the updates over the months & years. It’s given me hope. I’m in the same boat & plan to give my first steroid shot hopefully this month. Your post has been most helpful. God bless & hope your pain disappears forever.

Brett May 17, 2011

Hi everyone,
Just spent the last hour or so reading these comments and I must admit its put me in a much brighter frame of mind.
I’ved suffered from back pain for many years now, had several MRI’s over the years and basically I have DDD.
After many Epiduriol and Faciet joint injections about 3 years ago, which made no difference I was told by the surgeon to live with it, and get on with my life, and not let the pain run your life.
Seemed harsh at the time but over the past 3 years I have managed the pain, to a degree which I can perform my normal daily activities, ie driving, working etc I just had to give up al the sports I loved.
About 3 months ago I started suffering from leg pain and numbness down my right leg, had an MRI and the results were 2 slipped discs L4/L5 which were traping the nerve.
I underwent a discectomy on April 8th 2011 and returned home 2 days after the op.
I type today, being almost free of leg pain, but with severe low back pain and stiffness, so much so that i’m unable to walk for more than 15 min and find it almost impossible to sit for any time at all.
I have my follow up post appointment this week with my surgeon, and having read these posts, I will be asking about the possibility of a cortisone injection, so I can at least enjoy walking and small exercises, and build up my back muscles.
Thanks to all, and take care.

Private Citizen May 17, 2011

Carlos, that was your first mistake to think a shot, and all is well. Do you people read?? Cortisone ONLY masks the pain, but the ailment is STILL EXISTS!

So to comment, don’t dance with the stars, cuz you’re still injured. Get the 3rd shot, and don’t be stupid enough to THINK you can do all the things you used to do. It’s a fact of life to know your limitiations, and live within those boundaries. If you feel you can get back to allllllllll the things you used to do, I would guess again, and READ so more of these posts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see from all these comments and person experiences, that Cort is NOT a cure.

So therefore, if you don’t do excercises, minimize the risks, AND don’t read, allllllllll our of experiences, then so what you want to do! My comments are here to help, but when someone like you comes along and says I reaggravated ‘cuz of dancing, get a life, and think to yourself, wow, i came this far, and i’m in pain again for dancing!!

LOL, Good Luck & Godspeed My Friend, Because Without a Lifestlyle Change, Cort Isn’t Gonna HELP.

Dave queensland May 17, 2011

Hurt my back in december on light duties for 3 weeks then back to full duties getting the odd bit of pain down the right thigh and lower back.early may back went again really bad pain down the right leg and lower back sent for a ct scan the results been broad shallow disc protrusion L4/5 with right central extruded component causing schmorl’s nodes formation superior end plate L5 and small right central disc protrusion L5/S1 with peripheral calcification just butting right s1nerve root…….His words not mine …..well booked in for a ct guided RL4 nerve root cortisone/marcain injection 11.20 on the19/05/2011…..yipie hi a … i will let you know how it all went ……….. Dave

Satvik Sachdev May 19, 2011

Hello everyone… i am just 19 years old and i have 2 disc bulges in my back already..L5-S1 being the significant one….i am a karate black belt and i thrive on playing playing sports..but in the last year i have beenjust told to rest rest and rest…my doctor says that with me doing proper exercises the pain will go away ..total recovery time given to me is 2 years… when i consulted other doctors they told me to undergo surgery.. now after reading this blog i am very tempted to take a shot of cortistone…i want to know how will it affect my daily life after i take the shot? how much time will i have to rest i.e no sports or physical activity..?
life without playing seems to be a life not worth living..
Any help from you guys sis appreciated…..waiting avidly..

Dave queensland May 20, 2011

Hi poorly people … had the cortisone injection yesterday got through the opp without swearing much only takes 10 minutes not a nice experiance about as same as a visit to the dentist only felt pain twice while the doctor inserted the needle but he quickly put local in so was not too bad i will feel more relaxed if i have another one …… 24hrs later and no sharp shooting pains flying down my right leg the base of my back now not as painfull so peeps alls looking good seeing the doc next week defo going to get him to send me to see a specialist and have a mri scan and if need be i will have the disc out …..(i had my L4 out 20 yrs ago followed by a few pains now and again but i still played football sat/suns till i was 40 u just gotta be aware of ur back weakness and live to suit)………………Satvik sorry about your dilema the opp worked for me but you can feel u are restricted within ur movements so either it be the lose of disc or scar tissue it will/may effect your karate but it took my disc to slip 4 times before they operated …this disc has slipped twice now and i was doing nothing really heavy at work … so its comming out if i get my way ………. talk again in a week ……..

Glass back….(Dave)

Satvik Sachdev May 20, 2011

thanks for replying dave..could you please tell what all precautions has your doctor told you after you took the shot? a doctor here at my place told me that after taking the shot i should not play for an year or so..is it like that?

Nanette May 26, 2011

Hello. My name is Nanette and my daughter is 13. She started suffering crippling back spasms on January 27, 2011. Since that time she has had 15 “episodes” Her spasms last roughly 25 minutes each episode. She has played competitive basketball (AAU) for several years. She was just diagnosed with 3 bulging disks in her lower back L3, L4 L5.
How can I best help my yougn daughter not live a life of pain?

Roz May 30, 2011

I had 3 crush fractured vertebrae T9, 10 & 12 back in 1980 from lifting patients 3 times my size & I’ve had heaps of pain ever since. The past couple of weeks has been particularly bad & I had CT scan last Thursday & have been diagnosed with 2 bulging discs L5-S1 & C5-6.
I’m having the cortisone injections on Thursday. I’ve been apprehensive about havig the injections, but am hoping that it will ease the pain for quite a while.
I’ll let you know how I go.

Dave queensland June 1, 2011

Hi people
well good news so far been 2 weeks since the cortisone injection and i am nearly pain free still getting a shooting pain down my right thigh now and again but getting better and better all i have done is lay flat on my stomach for 2 weeks but now i am getting about on my feet more and more … as the doc said slowly slowly hopefully back to work next week on light duties in the office (been offered a job in the office) i can say the injection …FOR ME .. was worth it i know i am not cured but the relief from the pain is fantastic…….still early days yet so fingers crossed i will be looking after my back with much care for the next few months or so ……………hope all works out for u guys/gals ….

Chad June 1, 2011

Just ad the shot in lower back for cronic ciatic 5 hours ago. Holy crap that hurt. Back is sill a little sore. Going to ice itin bed now. All I can say is everyones situation is different. You will know if your ready for the shot. Your body just tells you so, as did mine. I hope for the best. Luv you all!


Roz June 2, 2011

Hi guys
I’m a bit perplexed!! After reading most of the posts on this site I was very apprehensive about having the procedure. Although my pain was about 7 out of 10 at the worst of times I REALLY thought my pain was negligable compared to other people.
When I had the procedure today, I thought ‘What was all the fuss about’ My discomfort level could only be described as 2 out of 10 & that’s stretching it a tad!!
I had the procedure done by a Radiologist, he injected 2 anaesthetic needles either side of my lower back then injected the cortisone 1st to my left then on the right after x-raying to make sure he got the correct spot.
I felt a little burning sensation going down my left leg then a little burning sensation down my right leg & up my right side. Then I was told I could get up & go & THAT was it!! I have to go back next Thursday to have the same done to my neck. They said it would be too much on my body to have both neck & lower back done at the same time.
It’s been 4hrs since I had the procedure & my lower back seems AOK.
I’m walking ok & without any pain whatsoever.
It was all a piece of cake really!! I’ll let you know next week if the neck is just as easy or not. Best Wishes ROZ

George (Sydney) June 3, 2011

After several months of excruciating pain radiating down from my right buttock down to my calf and foot I had my second cortisone injection into nerve root at L5 two weeks ago. The first one gave me minor relief for about a week and the pain returned. This second injection gave me immediate relief and now two weeks on am still pain free and only feel minor pins and needles at bottom of my foot on the odd occasion,but this is only momentary.At 55 years of age this was my first health issue I have had and can say to all of you that although there was a little discomfort in the second injection it is well worth it considering the result.

Roz June 6, 2011

My back pain has gone & I’m walking reasonably well BUT I have to tell you I’ve had a few side affects over the past few days since my injection!! I’ve experienced quite severe sharp pains which I can only describe as being like electricity passing through my spine.
It comes on unexpectedly & it really stops me in my tracks.
It seems to go on for ages but I guess it would be approximately 30-60seconds.
I’ve also been experiencing heart palpitations. Admittedly I’ve been on Sotalol (a Beta Blocker) for the past 16years & I’ve only had occasional mild palpitations in that time.
These latest palpitations have been occuring at least 3 times a day & waking me from sleep, since having the cortisone injection.
I’m 67 & have always been feisty, never had a panic attack or felt overly anxious but the past few days I have felt ‘on edge’.
I saw my GP yesterday & he could find nothing untoward with my heart. I told him I’d rather have the constant pain in my back than the sudden ‘electric shock treatment’.
I think he thought I was being a bit neurotic & assured me I would be OK in a couple of weeks.
I’m not so sure now though & I’m MORE than a bit apprehensive of having my neck injected next Thursday.
I’ve never but never had nightmares but I’ve had a couple of ’scary’ dreams in the past couple of days.
I found another site this morning that listed palpitations & panic attacks as side affects to cortisone injections.
I hope to God that these side effects are only in the short term!!
Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Sherry June 6, 2011

I was wondering if after having the cortizone shots (mine was over 10yrs ago) if you would start feeling pain in the lower back again? I had the herniated disc and I remember the Dr saying something about it coming back as bone rubbing on bone? Does anyone else experience this?


yvette June 7, 2011

after reading these comments, i think i’m going to talk with my doctor and see about getting the cortisone shot for my back. i talked with a co-worker about these shots because i told her i wish there was another way other than surgery to help my back. i was skeptical when she told me about it. now that i’ve read all these comments as well as being fed up with not being able to bend over to put on clothes or pick something up off the floor…i’m going to try it…for 18 years now i’ve been miserable and just dealing with the pain…NO MORE!! LOL

Roz June 9, 2011

Go for it Yvette, I had 6 injections in my C5-6 this morning (2 were anaesthetic injections), instant relief. Can’t call myself Crackling Rosie anymore. All I used to hear when i turned my neck was crackling!! The odd side affects I had after last weeks injections disappeared after a couple of days. I’m also able to see the base of my foot in the shower without almost falling A over T!! Because I’m on the age pension I was only out of pocket by $100 for all injections. The total cost was $690. BARGAIN, better than shopping online!!!

bernie June 15, 2011

hi everyone

i am bernie and in the uk-been experiencing severe sciatic pain in my right leg buttock lower leg and thigh for six months-started on 28th Dec 2010 after getting really bad flu-lots of coughing caused the problem down below with a disc-had mri scan and the prognosis was first of all to have the injection which i had last monday - one week one day on i am not sure some days not too much pain and other days as it was before and even worse-the burning is probably the worst-on a possible positive note together with the MRI and the cortisone it cost me £4,000 which doesnt compare to what some have paid in dollars seemingly on this blog-but its only money! so for me the jury is out-i go back to see the quack next week and i suspect he will suggest another injection, which i will probably go for on the basis that it is the least invasive-i have tried phsyio, and osteopathy neither of which worked-i had 5 weeks of 2-3 times per week acupuncture and i am sad to say that did not work either (it does work on other ailments however so it is probably worth trying if you get the right practitioner) i will respond back once i know the next step-it is perhaps (or not) surprising how many people have this type of problem as one tends to think you are the only one-i do think for some people mind over matter can work-for me i have tried that but it just hurts too much-unfortunately a stiff drink helps but is not the cure-i am hoping that if i have a second one (injection not drink) it will allow me to get back to some light exercise and particularly swimming which i know will help-i am told pilates is good so that will be somewhere on my agenda soon-good luck fellow sufferers keep strong for that is what we must do… kind regards


ps just read your note again roz funny cos we call it a over t here as well x

bernie June 16, 2011

hello whoever is out there-i am now a week and a half after having the injection i wont go into specific days as that will take me another week-the overall effect is more important and i have to say that so far so good-i dont want to tempt fate, however it will be what it will be, and i am pleased that i had the injection, as i have had more relief from it, than with the osteo, physio, and acupuncture by a country mile! I still get pain and burning and pins and needles but less than before the injection. Maybe this will give some hope and i will update in a few more days - at least it has made me more positive and given me some hope at last-keep strong

kind regards


dave June 18, 2011

What a fantastic blog this is!

Started with lower back pain around Feb, right butt pain started later. Then sleeping got to be a problem… I’d awaken to my right leg almost paralyzed. After forced painful walking about 2 minutes, I could walk normally. Started treatment with massage - I hit the roof when my “hamstring insertion point’ was barely touched (I haven’t been back to the masseuse, so do not know if she has had the hole in the roof repaired). My PCP sent my to PT. But, a bunch of visits showed that a little bit of PT just setup a lousy rest of the day. When worst, pain includes all above PLUS: all the S1 nerve - to the right, behind, and just below kneecap, outside of foot. Also, sometimes the back of the leg felt like a feather was brushing against it (I checked, nothing was there!)

Then I had an awful night/morning of leg spasms…

[To NANETTE above, if your daughter is still having the spasms, note below:]

After some reading up on it, took some OTC magnesium… and as mentioned in my reading, the spasms were TOTALLY gone within a day.

Fast forward about a month: Got a routine that “somewhat” works: heavy doses of Naproxen, Sleep at most 2 to 3 hours at a time, each time awakening to more pain, each time awakening to more of a need to go on
a tread mill for 10 minutes to work thru the pain, and then back to “sleep”.
Mornings i’m quite tired (try to get one more short nap in), and do a few 15 minute walks to get into the daily routine. I ONLY sleep on my back, as using either side makes the sleep duration short and wake more painful. Use pillow under knees, and NO pillow under head.

Fast forward to now: Had an MRI - bulge in L5S1. Going for epidural on Monday. Its a PAINFUL weekend, as epidural preparation includes NO NSAIDS. Understanding is that instead of taking anti-inflamatories orally that puts only small amounts of stuff at L5S1, take a shot of anti-inflamatory putting a mother lode at the exact site of the problem. Expectation is to use the temporary (6 months?) of relief to go back to more permanently effective PT to stave off surgery. A success here gets the bulging disc to correct itself to normal shape (but still a bit dessicated and degnerated).

Other things that are tiding me over that may be helpful to others
that I’ve picked up along the way:

- Ice on the disc. FORGEddabout placing it on the pain sites - that’s just referred pain, and unless there is soft tissue problems as well, ice has no effect there.

- Biofreeze and the like - has Ilea and menthol. Place all over, both disc and referred pain sites. Sooths, and makes brain think of the cool/heat instead of the pain.

- Sit on big bouncy ball - bounce LIGHTLY on it for 5 min or so per day. Idea is
to make bellows effect on the discs to work in nutrients and oxygen.

Best Regards to all

Rania June 30, 2011

Hi, I have had back pain since 2001, now have 4 children, and had an injection of cortisone in April 2010 1 year and 2months have passed, and i am now starting to feel some pain in my lower back again with my right leg and upper tigh, started using voltaran tablets with a regular hot water heat pack. Have been using the treadmill on a regular basis, just for walking not running, but had to stop. Any advise????

Private Citizen July 2, 2011

Hi Rania, if you get to the point where you can’t take it anymore, then go get another shot. But I must say, over 1 year, that’s great. You are the only person that can dictate that answer whether yes or no, since we all different conditions and pain thresholds.

Godspeed, and Take Care!!

Michael July 3, 2011

Until tonight I hadn’t even thought about researching the cortizone injection I am scheduled to have in two days. I just assumed that it was supposed to be 100% successful; I wasn’t told that the chances of relief were only about 50% - maybe! Like most of the people blogging here I have had chronic back pain for many years; result of cycling falls when I was much younger and thought nothing of it. Now I’m in a world of pain due to bulging and herniated discs with scoliosis not helping. Anyway, you all sound worse off than me so I’ll leave you now and see what happens on Tuesday.

bernie July 7, 2011

hello back/leg/backside and other regions sufferers wot a motley bunch we all are!

update so far the first injection has stayed positively with me some days it gives me some pain but on a scale of 10 with 10 being the worst i would say i am somewhere between 1-3 - on the positive note the injection has continued to give me hope, so much less pain and some quality of life again-tomorrow i am off to rehab-physio, and am told they will help me whilst i have this window of somewhat free of pain period-i expect i will do this physio at least twice a week and the physio lady is keen to get hold of me (not many ladies are that keen these days!) during this window of little pain-i am also going to get a second injection of cortisone in another couple of weeks - this was my suggestion rather than my counsultants and i based it on the various articles i had read which suggested a second one would be beneficial-side effects of the first injection so far are minimal the only ones i could pinpoint are some insomnia and the occasional sick feeling but they are quite few and far between so i am not overly worried about them (the second head i have grown is not causing me a problem apart from having to shave two chins!-and at least i have someone elase to talk to who doesnt argue with me!!!) will update in a few weeks when i know where i am with the physio good luck to all of you - may your god go with you kind regards


Yvonne July 8, 2011

Wow! I wish I would have research these injections before tonight! My first injection was scheduled for June, but I was so scared I changed my appointment! Ugh! Not a good choice the pain in my back is unbearable , couldn’t even take a shower felt like my back couldn’t hold me up! With that said! I’m so thankful I stumbled upon this blog, I’m not as scared, and just hearing that there is ome relieve is exhilarating!!! I have spondeolythesis, spondylitis and two other things L4 & L 5 are a mess! Pain shoots down my legs and I am beginning to feel numbness, I am a teacher , and so I am hopeful this will work for me as well, I now it’s temporary but I’ll take any relief at this point! Thanks to all you guys, for posting and keeping us the scary cats! Hopeful! Will let you know how it goes tomorrow! :D

Kimistry July 12, 2011

I had a steroid injection on 7-7-11 in my lower back (L5-S1). My back feels better but I am now getting some tingling in my right foot. It affected my left at first. My main concern is this hip pain and swelling that I’m now experiencing. Has anyone else had this problem afterwards and what was the diagnosis????

Annie July 12, 2011

Thanks for your post. I’ve had lower back pain for 2 years and have tried everything; physical therapy, anti-inflammitories, chiropractor, even magnets (no one really cared about helping me until I found my current doc). MRI shows a herniated disc with a cortisone shot as recommended treatment. I’m an aerialist and have been leery of anything invasive. I’ve worried it would be career ending for me. These posts make me feel comforted about getting the shot. Maybe there are a few years of aerials in me yet! Thanks for giving me hope!

bernie July 14, 2011

hello all and yvonne hope it went well-i am sure it will by - the by i was with my new physio yesterday and she mentioned just how many people notice this problem is worse in the shower-no scientific evidence just her noticing! it could be the heat of the shower or perhaps i think maybe a quiet time expecting to relax perhaps makes one focus more on the problem-either way it is quite strange! re Kimistry the tingling in the right foot-yes i get if from time to time but it is no where near the intensity vefore the shot-as a point of interest let me share this with you all-since this problem began i have had a sharp shooting pain in my right abdomen-initially i thought it was some organ playing up somewhere as did my quack and the specialist who did colonoscopy-he could find nothing-neither could an x-ray or ultrasound -no one could pinpoint what was going on neither could they find the problem spot when they pressed around the area-she found it straght away and has indentified that there is a muscle which runs down the right side of the spine it then wends its way down and across the right side of the groin - because of the issues and compensating that i and my body have done because of the pain in the right leg, now, that muscle has shortened hence the incredible pain i have been feeling in my right lower abdomen-what we now need to do is stretch that muscle and the pain should go away since yesterday she has given me some exercises to do which includes laying down with my buttocks half on the edge on a dining room table then laying down flat on my back with my left knee clasped to my chest and the right leg just dangling over the table-this with a micro wave heated blanket resting on my right groin-bloody painful but really effective i am feeling the difference already-i also have push ups to do which is designed to arch my back and help the distances between my discs-also after a car journey stand with my hands on my hips and arch my back a few times-what all this has done is show me that it is important for me to use this window of relatively pain free time to help myself using physio to strengthen the weakened areas in my back to also have the physio release up some of the many muscles which are knotted in my back-i am told if i do nothing during this window i will most likely just go backwards at some stage to where i was before the injection-i am due to have my second injection in two weeks time unless the physio work proves so helpful that i may not need to have it-either way folks my general demeanour has improved so much- i feel much more positive about my leg/back and really have high hopes i will get back to some real normality soon-just not having that awful pain has been such a pleasure-nothing is guaranteed to work, however for me it has done wonders and i intend to do everything now to ensure i give it the best shot (no pun intended) - also by the by i was at the stage where i was prepared to go for the operation but decided for the shot and rehab physio-this was one of the best decisions i have made thus far in my life-kind regards to you all and good luck


Loren July 17, 2011

Hi all.
im just 16 and have been trying to live a normal teenage life with a protruded disc for nearly a year. This blog has opened my eyes to the monority of my case which makes me sympathise with a lot of you!
so in June last year i had back and leg pain after a typical game of netball. i continued playing until december when things had progressively got worse. i had an mri and diagnosed with a protruded disc L5S1. I was told right there and then that sport wasnt an option for about a year and i was gutted. my experiences this year have shown me that sport, my passion, was the least of my worries. being an academic student, my grades went out the window after not being able to sit at a desk left me on the floor at home for over a month leading up to exams, and the pain relief i was on meant that i had no hope of focussing when i was at school. i was referred to a back surgeon who told me that he was extremely hesitant to operate due to my age. I took up the option of a cordal epidural (cordizone) as soon as i was offered and i had relief for around 2 weeks. i had a 2nd one of these which lasted another 2 weeks. I then had a third cordizone, this time with the guidance of xray, and has provided strong relief for 6-8 weeks, and although the pain is coming back it is not wuite as bad as it has been. i have been given the option of a 4th cordizone should i need it .
The biggest challenge with this injury as im sure you will agree is how to overcome it mentally. watching my team play the game i love has been hard for me, just as my friends lead casual active lives and i didnt realise how active i was until it was all taken away from me. obviously with no sport i have started to gain weight, although small amounts, which is just another thing to worry about.
The problem with this injury is that i might wake up one day and be average, stand almost straight and people think i have recovered, that im milking the system or just being lazy. Alot of people do not understand the extent of this injury, and are quick to judge what I do.
This blog has been so relieving to find a group of people who UNDERSTAND ! although my parents are extremely supportive they cant comprehend the feeling this injury causes. I know my injury isnt horrendously bad compared to other stories in this blog, but i want my life back, and be a stupid, immature teenager again . in the meantime i think i’ll take up knitting. :)

bernie July 20, 2011

hi all and Loren especially-sorry to hear your problems at your age-hold on the knitting see if you can start some physio work with someone who could really help-i have started physio as i mentioned earlier on this thread, so far it is too early to know, but it has made me very positive as has the first injection i go in for my second next week-as my lady in physio told me this is not just about back/leg problems it also has a lot to do with what is going on in your life and for me just as importantly what is going on in my head-if my head is not in the right gear or frame of mind i might as well jump off a cliff-with a positive mind i am convinced this will help me-the idea of the physio now is whilst i am relatively pain free there is a window of opportunty to strenthen my lower back muscles and my general posture thereby hopefully improving my overall situation-there really are loads of us bulging disc people here through hardly any fault of our own-back pain is so personal so intrusive and so mind blowing, for those who have never had it they will never understand-do think positively it does help to know you are not alone-see if you can get some physio and pilates-perhaps do a course of pilates-self help is everything in this life and i am sure you will get back to being a pain in the wotsit teenager-remember keep strong in yourself whatever the adversity it can and probably will get better-and as i have read and believe you will get over this. kind regards b


I just had two series of facet steroid injections for two bulging discs at T7-10. They provided relief for 5-7 days and then the pain came roaring back. I am scheduled for the third, but if I get no relief, I see no reason to continue with something that only lasts for one week.

I will have to seek a surgical option unfortunately.

Side effects of the cortisone are weight gain and high blood pressure. I have a BMI of 19 and gained weight immediately. My normal blood pressure of 111/70 also shot up to 160/95.

I don’t think it was worth going through the process if you are in 9 out of 10 pain for a year. It just didn’t work. Maybe if you have less pain for a shorter period of time.

Chris August 7, 2011

in 2010 by doing heavy squats and bad lifting after on the floor I had this big pain like an electric shock onto my lower back. after seeing the doctor and an MRI, they found a bulged disk on my right side and hernited disk S1/L5. after physitherapy, core sthrengthen, stretches and 15 months the pain still there. not as painfull as before but, cant play soccer beacause of these cramps on my left hamstring and calf, also dont feel my achiles heel. So my phisio and doctor decided to give me a 1st cortisone shot right on my S1 nerv to heal this irradiation onto my left leg. after 3 days of resting feeling like drug it feels beter looks like m cramps are going away. but I woupd like to know if my nerv could be pinched for too long now 15 months and cant be the same as before ive me feedbacks.

Private Citizen August 9, 2011

Hey Chris, we allll feel your pain. Remember that cortisone is only to mask the pain and is not a cure, it just makes your daily life liveable. YOU are still injured!! The best advice I can give to you, seek treats first B4 cortisone shots, and see which may help, and which don’t. I personally went for chiro traction b4 an injection to evaluate it’s effect. Well, the traction hurt like hell, didn’t help after 2 weeks, and gave that up tick snap. Then had my cortisone, and THAT did not take either to the immensce pain caused from the chiro traction!! Rule of thumb, seek forms of treatment FIRST and B4 injection, otherwise you will not be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment post-injection. Just my 2 cents, and alot of experimenting!!

May try Chinese cupping therapy, but the thought of huge hickies of blood brought to the skin surface scare me with clotting potential, our prob is not muscle related, etc.

Being self employed, I have bills to pay and a family to take care of. Playing baseball isn’t going to pay those bills. So, is it a quality of life issue, or a knowing your limitations issue? I have a guy every 10 days to cut my grass because it hurts like hell after I do it, so is it worth what I pay him, yes, reason, it’s his body, his gas, his mower and IT saves MY body/back. To each their own, and all folk are different, but I HAD to make changes to my lifestyle

Facet injections didn’t help me, but maybe others? Who knows? This blog is about experiences and other avenues, and individual results WILL vary.

I was hardcore ball almost to the Bigs, but if I knew then when I was growing up and what I know now, I’m stupid!!

Well Bro, Godspeed, and Take Care, ‘Cause We All Need It On This Blog!!

Private Citizen August 9, 2011

To So Cal 50,

Try outside of the facet injections, My facet sucked, and outside along the roots starting from the spine was so divine. Weight gain, less sodium intake and a diuretic.

Just My 2 Cents, & Godspeed to All of Us on This Blog!!

Char August 12, 2011

Just to add that after my fusion with an erector set (!!) type hardware operation in 2008 I am doing much better now at 3 yrs later-It takes two yrs after all that work and readjusting your life experiences with doing thing wrong with posture etc. I lost my right arm skills spmewhat with nerve damage as the worst disability after operation-I am now SSDI. but it could have been so much worse with paralysis much more serious…..I am grateful-we take our bodies for granted-
I went thru the cortizone shots and my first series of three lasted 7 yrs-only to be a hairdresser to make it worse with my job posture etc. DDD!

Suggestion-: trust your dr and get a dr who specializes in that spine of ours….they know their stuff-I look at my xray now-I look like an erector set was placed in my C5-T2 spine! And surprisingly, you dont feel it like you think you will….Just dont do the really strenuous stuff anymore…And Im breathing and walking-what more can I be glad for! It could be so much more worse, really. Just had to share- thanks. Char/ Bethlehem, PA

bernie August 13, 2011

hi all-it is now 3 weeks since i had the second injection-still very little pain and i am having 2 x one hour pilates/physio sessions every week-all i can report is so far so good-still have some small lower back pain and still some pins and needles in my right foot, but generally apart from that so far so good-the idea is that while i have this window of pain free-i will strengthen my core muscles and improve my posture-i am told if i dont bother with the physio and then soon start to swim again (front crawl only) i will just go back to where i was before the injections-it is still early days yet but my quality of life has improved HUGELY-i do realise that the cortisone is masking the pain, and one day i may go under the knife - however, while i am fortunate to have this window of opportunity i will take it and do everything i can to help myself-kind regards to you all and as ever keep strong & good luck b

Rachel August 16, 2011

I am a very young 64 year old who has worked in the entertainment industry for many years lifting heavy PA equipment in and out of my car and suffered back pain since my early 30’s. I was generally fit and went to a gym regularly. In 1998 I was diagnosed with 2 bulging disks and opted to wear a back brace for about 6 months instead of surgery. Things got worse again in about 2003 after working in an office full time with the constant sitting at a computer. It was suggested that a cortisone injection would help and it was very successful. Early last year (2010) after putting on a considerable amount of weight working at a computer I started to get pins and needles down both legs and into the feet. Walking was extremely difficult and had to sit down every few minutes, that was difficult in itself, as there wasn’t somewhere to sit on the street, after parking my car to get to work. I went back to see a Neurosurgeon and an MRI showed that I had severe canal stenosis (buldging disks of L4 and 5). The surgeon suggested I go to regular hydrotherapy classes but still that would not be a solution. I could have ended up in a wheelchair and lost my bladder etc control if eventually I didn’t have surgery. Within 2 weeks I went in for surgery as it was getting worse surgery and I was told that I would not be able to work for 3 months. After the surgery I went into Rehab, as I lived alone and had not help, which was the best thing because I had constant Physio every day. I was back working 2 days a week within 5 weeks and it was the best things I ever did and wished I had it done earlier. About 2 months ago I had a car accident where a driving didn’t stop at a Give Way sign and hit me on the left side. There was little damage to the car but the force of being hit lifted my car up on the 2 right wheels and slammed down. I was in shock but not hurt. The next day I was stiff all over. As the days progressed I started getting pain in my hip and down my leg. It became excruciating to the point I couldn’t sleep at night even after taking heavy pain killers. Even sleeping pills didn’t work as I kept waking up every time I moved in bed. I had a cortisone injection again but this time it only worked for a few days and it had become worse. I decided to go back to a Sports Medicine Clinic and have been having dry needling and massage. This has helped tremendously but the pins and needles are still there when I walk for more than 5 minutes. After another MRI it has now shown that I have severe canal stenosis of L2 an d L3 and will be going back next week to see my Neurosurgeon and only hope this time there can be a solution without surgery (perhaps another cortisone injection again), I recommend dry needling for anyone going through pain and hope I could believe that mind over matter would help. BUT NOT IN THIS CASE.

mortality August 19, 2011

Just hae epidural shots in L5 and S1 yesterday. Immediate relief. Meds wore off, pain almost full. Understand it takes atleast 3 days to fill the full results.
I have a herniated disc l 5 and s 1, I am 55 years olds and played basketball half court for over 20 years. I played in a band and lifted equipment for several decades… which I believe caused the disc herniation. I can take a lot of pain and have a lot of hope, sometimes that slows me down from taking corrective action. Bottom line with me
1. Waiting for epidural injection results
2. Possible minor surgery to remove extended disk piece that sounds like it is the problem
3. Change my structural skeletal positioning; posture, stretches and exercises, and a myriad of self help approaches read on this website.
4. Was the focus of not doing the things of the past that bring pain

Erin August 20, 2011

I have pain in my buttock that shoots down my calf. I had two injections, after the first I felt some relief. When i was receiving the second shot the pain shot down into my calf and it was just awful. I went home and rested and when I got up to make dinner the calf pain was still there. The next morning I had shooting pains when leaning over the sink to brush my teeth and the calf pain was constant. It has been four weeks since the last injection and I am still in pain I actually cried after walking my dog tonight. I am so worried that something went horribly wrong.

Rob August 22, 2011


I am 26 and have suffered with back pain for 4 yrsfollowing a very active lifestyle of soccer, weight lifting and runnning. I spent silly money on chiros, physios and osteos all did nothing for me to be honest.

I recently decided to get an MRI and it revealed degeneration of L5 disc. My consultant recommended I have a cortisone facet joint injection which I had 4 days ago and so far it sems to have done very little, i still have the muscular aches I have always had. He has a great rep. so I know he has done the best he can.

I have been cycling and to the gym to do some light weights (i have always done this even when in some pain as resting onloy makes things worse)

He has suggested a Wallis Ligament Implant which is reversible but it is risky with me being so young. Has anyone had this?

I think it is vital to continue to exercise for less pain and to improve your mood/positivity.

cm August 25, 2011

Hi there,

Wow!! Just found this and how enlightening to know I’m not alone.

I’ve had trouble on and off with my back/hip/shoulders for years, but nothing permanent or really horrid…..until this Spring. Started out the year in better shape than ever, ran my first 5k in March, then kept walking and keeping active until a 2 wk holiday in Spain with even more walking. I started feeling a hitch in my leg/hip about week 2 there, but could walk it off. When I came back I went to my trusted chiropractor who tried to get my pelvis in line, did x-rays, etc. Finally in late May, early June I had a routine appt with my family doctor after having felt good enough 2 days early to try a light run and a set of stairs (albeit big stairs). By the time I saw him I could barely get out of the chair to ‘hop’ up on the table for him to check my blood pressure. He figured I had about 10% movement in my left hip! He immediately sent me to physio. I walked out of my first physio appt with a cane.

After 2X/wk X 2.5 weeks my physio refused to treat me any further without an x-ray and/or MRI and let my doctor know that. That afternoon I was scheduled for an x-ray which showed nothing and my doctor finally did the requisition for a MRI. Fortunately I have a good employer health plan and a husband who just wanted his normally happy wife back and I paid for the MRI privately while getting some covered through my plan. The results showed a disc bulge interefering at the L4/5 on the left.

My physio began working on the right stuff - which although not that different than her original plan it made a huge difference. The cane was history within a week. However, after 3 more weeks she suggested cortisone treatments and I’ve just had my second. The first one did very little, but I can feel a difference now….24 hours after the second.

I’ve begun some deep water workouts at the local pool and am religious with my core strengthening exercises as well as still taking a nerve drug and an anti-inflammatory to ease the daily pain. I have decided to go back to yoga (which I did for 3 years during which I had no back pain - coincidence??) in September and keep up with the water work outs.

Some people refer to 40 as the new 30….pfffft…..for me it’s been the new 90!! All my neighbors are octagenarians and yet I’m the only one who has a cane in their closet!!

If I have heard any advice that’s worth passing on it’s from my 84 year old neighbour who says he keeps active from 5 am to 10 pm because he’s “only got a limited time offer and he plans to make the most of it while he’s here”.

mike jones August 30, 2011

I am 49 yr old former marine, who has spent the past 8 yrs working in Iraq as personal security specialist. Always was very fit and strong. Injured low back and after MRI, just like you had L4, L5 bulged disc and pinched nerve. Pain was very intense, all the way into rt glute, knee and ankle. I was drinking half a bottle of vodka so I can “relax” enough to sleep. Found a good doctor who gave me a cortisone shot, which helped…….ALOT. I also take oxycontin for pain relief, however, I can and do work out. Light running, including hill sprints. Core work, push ups, light weights no more than 30lb dumbells. I am 6′ 225 and used to lifting heavy. Bottom line is I ended up getting a 2nd cortisone shot and after that one, the pain was managable! It sure sounds like alot of folks are being way too hesitant to work out, THIS IS KEY. The human body will sure work alot better when you are lean and in better condition. Train hard and eat clean. I will avoid having the “recommended back fusion surgery” as long as I feel as good as I do now.

yash bansal September 5, 2011

i am 26 year old, used to do heavy gyming a year back when something went wrong when lifting the dumbles for shoudler exercise. initially i didnt cared much, thought may be just some regular pain. but the pain persisted and now after around 15 months when the pain started to get worse i went to doc and he suggested MRI. The reports stated minor disc buldge in L4/5 causing root minor compression.

The pain i feel till now is bearable but i am worried it might get worse. i havent been going gym since a year….. i did bungy jumping once 8 months backing i think which added to this pain somehow.

please suggest….

(doctors have adviced only walking and some exercises at home to make it better……)

Rob September 5, 2011

@ Yash - I did bunjee 1 yr before I had my back problems, I always wonder whether this effected my back too!

I was a heavy gym goer before the problems (DDD) but have since returned to the gym but only do some exercises and lift lighter weights…I would deffo avoid, bar squats, leg press, sitting shoulder press. I think all sitting exercises should be avoided, try to do any weights either lay or standing. And always do stretches and lowerback/core stregthening!

I still have problems and had a facet joint injection 3 weeks ago - there was no pain/issues with the injection and I have improved slightly since having them I just hope they last! Try and get back in the gym and just do what is comfortable!

Swimming and cycling have worked for me and the enjoyment of exercise deffo improves mood/positivity!

Rachel September 6, 2011

Unfortunately only a few days after my second epidural injection, the pain coming from L2 and L3 has been affecting my knee so badly it wakes me up at least twice a night. Tried walking in warm water at pool but hasn’t helped enough. Looks as though it will mean surgery again as this is no way to live. Am taking anti-inflammatories 3 times a day as well as a stronger pill at night.

Nathan September 8, 2011

I have been suffering from sciatica for 12 months now, i am 18 and play rugby league i had severe back pain after a game and 2 days later had nerve pain which radiated down my left leg was unsure what it was and took it upon myself to go see the doctor and he proscribe me with anti-inflammetry and it didnt have an effect, i then went on to see many physiotherapist and that also had little effect. I was referred to the hospital and had to wait months to have an mri scan which results showed i my L5 S1 disc was bulging and touching the nerve i am currently waiting for an epidural injection which takes place on the 7th of next month, as i was playing for huddersfield giants before my injury occured i was hoping for some advice for when i can start training after my epidural injection has taken place and is succesful i dont want my professional career to be over before it started so will anyone advise me on this?

Andy Byrne September 8, 2011

Hi all,
I injured my back was I was 18-19 sailing a laser. Over the next ten years I suffered little back pain and avoided strenuous activities. I got back sailing the laser (radial rig this time around)

One year ago, my wife had a baby and since then my back problems have become very difficult. I was diagnosed with a generative disc at L5S1 which also has a lateral tear. After seeing physios for months, I took the option of a cortisone injection but it made no difference.
In fact, I experienced very acute back pain which resulted in me needing complete bed rest.
I am doing baby-style stretches at the moment but I am reluctant to push any way hard as it’s so acute. The pain level is probably 2 out of 10 so it’s always there daily..
Anyone got any ideas? I am starting to wonder if I will ever feel normal again

Susan September 11, 2011

I am scheduled for my first injection next week, and I am pretty apprehensive about doing it. I have found that over the last 3 weeks I have been on an increasing schedule of gabapentin which has been fairly successful in managing the pain. I still have some discomfort, but nothing like before.
My main concern is that I’m taking 3300 milligrams of gabapentin a day and wonder what the long term effects will be.

Anyone have any words of wisdom for me? Thanks

brandy September 12, 2011

i have had low back pain for alil over a yr had a mri showed i had a herinated l5 s1 had my1st epidural last wed…. NO relief at all im still extremely alot of pain numbness in my leg and everything has anyone had an injection and didnt work? im to go back to the drs in 3 weeks but im thinking bout calling them sooner.. by the way im 24 and 3 toddlers so i really need this fixed

Donna September 14, 2011

My diagnosis:
MRI: Bulging disc in L4 and L5, with sciatica pain running down left leg.
Treatments I have had: Pain killers (percocets), naproxen, wore a tens unit, 6 months of physical therapy and finally….. Lumbar steroid injections.

I have suffered with sciatic pain for well over a year now. About 8 months ago my doctor sent me for physical therapy (before I had an MRI). PT did not work for me. After that I insisted on an MRI. The MRI showed bulging disc in the L4 and L5, with sciatica pain running down my buttocks and the back of my left leg. I was then sent to an orthopedic doctor who ordered me back to physical therapy. He said I was did not receive the proper physical therapy the first time, as they didn’t know I had bulging disc and was treating it as a (narrowing of the spine). Thus, I needed traction and the proper PT for my specific problem. I went for another 12 weeks and that did not work. In the meantime, I was on pain killers (percs) during the whole time. After the second round on PT failed, I was sent to a pain management clinic. I had my first lumbar steroid injection yesterday. I felt no pain when I got home, but that was because the local didn’t wear off yet. Last night was very uncomfortable for me, but I iced my back every 2 hours and wore my tens unit to bed. I was told to expect a couple of days of discomfort, before I would start to feel better.

I woke up this morning with excitement because I have very little to know pain at all. I can only pray this last. I go for my second injection in 2 weeks. My sister told me that she had the injections for the same exact problem that I have (BULGING DISC) in her back and had 2 injections and has been pain free for 2 years. The pain clinic told me that in some cases, once the inflammation goes down from the injection, it is possible that the disc can pop back in place. Which I feel happened in my sisters case). I can only hope that I get that lucky!

I have also been told by physical therapist and doctors that Rupture disc are harder to treat then bulging disc and that bulging disc have a might higher chance of the injections working, because they are not ruptured. So, I guess there is a difference between bulging disc and ruptured disc. Maybe that is why so many people are disappointed with the injections, because sometimes the injury is more serious then ruptured disc. I am trying to be optimistic that these injections truly help me. I know it isn’t a cure, but I have learned one thing from Physical therapy and that is the proper exercises to do, to strengthen my back, once the injections gives me enough relief. I know that walking has relieved some pain for me in the past and also my tens unit helped. I just wish that I could have had the injections months ago instead of being on pain killers all those months. The doctors told me that they wanted to try all the Non-evasive treatments first. My response to that last week: “Being on narcotics for 8 months and risking possible addiction, IS A LOT MORE EVASIVE THEN HAVING 2 STEROID SHOTS AND GETTING IT OVER WITH!

Sometimes you have to demand things to get results. Good luck to you all and I hope everyone hear can find relief soon. I will keep you updated when I get my second injection and also let you know if a few days if this first injection is helping. As of today, I am having a good day and my legs don’t feel heavy, like they usually do when I would wake up in the morning. It hurt before, just to walk on hard floors barefoot. I didn’t feel that today getting up this morning. Blessings to you all.

Donna September 14, 2011

p.s. I forgot to add that my bulging disc were pressing down my my nerve roots, thus the sciatic pain.

Donna September 15, 2011

Day 3 after first lumbar steroid injection. The pain is gone! This is my second day being pain free. I feel great. I can’t believe I feel relief after only 2 days. The injection must have really worked fast in relieving the inflammation. My sciatic pain is gone also. I pray this last. I am going to start walking 2 miles again each day soon. I am scheduled for a second injection on Sept 26th. If I still have relief after the 2nd injection, then I was told I will not need a 3rd injection. Keeping fingers crossed.

I was told that I was a good canidate for the indections, because my L4 and L5 were bluging and pressing on my nerve root (thus, the sciatic pain). The doctor said that the injections are usually more sucessful with bulging disc, rather then ruptured disc, because they haven’t ruptured yet. Makes sense to me. Perhaps that is why the injections don’t work as well with people who have actually ruptured their disc and end up needing surgery. I was told that bulding disc can cure themselves in time if taken care of properly. If the inflamation is reduced enough, sometimes they can even pop back in place. I can only pray that happens to me. I will keep you all posted after I get the second injection in 2 weeks. Best wishes to you all.

Susan September 15, 2011

I just had my first injection today, and am doing fine. The only pain is a bit of discomfort at the injection site, which I understand can increase over the next 2 days. I am confused about what my schedule should be with the gabapentin, since I know you have to go down slowly and it will be difficult to assess my pain level since the drug has done a good job of masking it. I guess I’ll call the physiatrist tomorrow for further clarification. Also, my disk is described as herniated, with 7 mm bulging on the S1 nerve. Is that ruptured, bulging or what?

Debbie September 16, 2011

Nice website. I was injured at work (I’m a truck driver of 20+ years) and had an MRI done last week which showed bulging discs and a tear. Doctor now recommending cortisone shots. Concerned about the side effects like some have mentioned: panic attacks, sweating, nightmares, etc. For those of you experiencing these, are they lasting a few days after the injection? If so…I can handle it. I just want to be out of pain. Any input would be kindly appreciated. Thanks and good luck to all of us

Donna September 16, 2011

I didn’t have any side effects. Going on day 4 for me. The first night I had a little increased pain once the local wore off, which is normal. Day 2 felt a lot beter (no pain at all). It is now day 4 after the indection. I feel like my pain level has improved 60 percent. I am due for another injection on September 26. I’m hoping that takes away the rest of the inflamation and pain. I have 2 bulging disc L4/L5 which were pressing on my nerve roots. The pain down my leg has improved and I am hopeful that the second shot will improve the rest.

Kathy September 20, 2011

hey folks. New to this site. I have had severe low back pain since I fell last year down 12 steps at out home hitting my low back. Tried everything and then was set to physiatrists to try to help with the pain in lumbar spine and left leg. MRi showed I had adavanced facet arthropathy in L-3, L-4, L-5 and S1. And have degenerative disc desease between L5-S1. But didnt see any bludging or protuding discs. He is hoping steriod shots and physical therapy will help the ease the pain. So I had my first set of steriod shots of 4 10 days agao in my facet joints on L4-L5, L5-S1 and only had releif on the day of the shots from the numbing meds. When they wore off it was really sore and now pain is back. Set to go back to my doctor at Semmes Murphy Neurogical and Spine Institute tomorrow to set up another rounds of shots. Will let everyone know how it goes.

Ziggy September 21, 2011

Hope all of you get relief from whatever you do. I had sciatica 11 years ago. It lasted for 6 months and at no time did a Dr. tell me about shots. It finally just went away after PT and chiro. I got it back again in May and since then have been through everything except surgery. To Susan, don’t be afraid of the steriod shots… they are a piece of cake. However, they don’t work for everyone…..one being me. I’m flat on my tummy on my bed and have been for over a week. I cannot sit in any chair no matter how hard or soft it is. My husband takes me to appointments in the back of our SUV with the back seat down on a lounge pad on my tummy in the back. I’m 64 and was hoping to make it to 65 and have Medicare cover surgery but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and have it. I’m doing aqua theraphy and massage now still praying a mircle will happen and it will go away, like last time. Good luck to all in pain…believe me I can sympathize!

Sharon September 26, 2011

Hi, Thank you so much for this great blog. I hate to see so many people in pain but glad that there is so much support! Anyway, I had my 2nd injection for L5 spinal stenosis/herniated disk after being relatively pain free with occasional pain for about a year with my 1st one. The 2nd did not work as well as the 1st one. It has been a month and only in the past couple of days do I feel much better. I have had to use Percocet for pain and infact have another appt for injection in 2 days because i didn’t get adequate relief. But now, I am wondering if I should cancel my appt. since I seem to be much better except for numbness in left leg and still some hip pain but nothing like it was. Soooo, is it possible that I will get even better and eliminate the annoying but not excruciating hip pain and numbness if I go ahead with the shot or should I not get the injection and wait until I really need it should that happen again? In the past, I have experience excruciating back spasms and terrible sciatica. Also, I don’t know how I will feel without pain meds I have been taking. (presently only 1 percocet a day does the job) I would hate to have a spasm attack (which I have had) after flying 2000 miles to see my daughter and grandbaby. It’s a scary thing to experience the sudden attack of pain. I guess my main question is, will another injection give me GREATER chance of NOT getting the pain back? I really appreciate your help. Thanks so much!

Ziggy September 27, 2011


I’ve had 2 injections, well 3 since he did 2 places between L3-4 and L4-5 and it didn’t do anything. We are planning on driving to CA late Oct so guess I’ll have to lay in the back for the 2 day trip. I had planned to fly and husband drive but since I can’t sit I can’t fly. I have the upper thigh pain and terrible numbness and and stinging pain down my shin. I’ve heard (everyone has a comment) that once the pain is in the lower leg it takes longer to leave. I believe the shots helped the back pain but I can barely walk on the left leg so only lying on my stomach works. Sleeping is a joke..trying to get into so position. I have vicodin from my Dr. but I hate to use it feeling I’ll have to really need it later. She’s very stingy with drugs like that and I’m on the lowest dose. I have an apt end of Oct with reportedly the “best spin surgeon in LA area” and maybe I’ll just have the surgery. Good luck to you. I sympathize!

Donna September 28, 2011

I had my second steroid injection yesterday. I have to say the first one helped about 40% but didn’t feel the full effect for about 2 weeks. I have 2 bulging disc L4/L5 which were pressing on my nerve roots.

After having my second injection yesterday, today I am totally pain free. No pain down the leg what so ever. I am not going to get to excited though, unless I go days without pain and can get off all pain meds completely. I don’t need the meds at the moment, but since I was on percs for months, the Dr. wants me to wean off them slowly, so I don’t have withdrawls. If this 2nd injection works, I am still scheduled to have the 3rd and last one in 2 weeks. Even if I feel better with this second one, I plan to get the 3rd. I want to make sure ALL the inflamation is gone! (which is the purpose of having the injections)

If you guys are scared to get the injections, don’t be! The can give you a sedative called Versed and you don’t even feel or remember the procedure at all. It is totally pain free. You will however, need someone to drive you home. I didn’t even believe they gave me the injection, because I don’t remember a thing. You are awake on the Vesed, you just don’t remember the procedure at all or feel a thing. I really wish you all the best and pain free days and I’m really sorry that the injections haven’t worked for some of you. My pain doctor told me that once the disc are herniated, the injections don’t work as well as they do, as when the disc are just bulging. There is a difference between bulging disk and herniated disk. Good luck to you all. I will keep you posted on my final outcome in a few weeks.

josh October 2, 2011

Hi all…. i know its hard to go through this and the more doctors and medications you use they start to depress you a whole lot more, trust me ive been there.
Im a 28 yr old plumber that is still going through this disc problems.
I first did it 4 yrs ago…… and was backed to work in 2 months , yes it was a pain but i got through it……. have just up set it again…… a bit worst then before… but i know it will fix it again and it is already is…………… It’s hard to pick and choose who to listen too and who to beleave….
Ive had one injection and a heap of accupunture and im starting to feel great…….. i got sick of spending money in the first few weeks on physio that made me feel better for a good 2hrs then i’d be back to square one again.
I believe there is a time and a place for all that and yes i will be going back to see them soon to get through the strenghing stage………. Your body is a great tool and great repairer, and even those injurys are quiet bad,…… i know the body will heal its self……. yes you might have to mantain it, but its deffently repairable…..I know pilaties is great for these type of injurys and swimming…. I found a Chiropracter in the states that has wrote a book on how to fix a buldging disc problem……… i think its a great buy….. and he”ll run you through step by step on how to do it……..and ive only been to chiro once, it will save you some money.. the web site i went to was ” Howtofixabuldgingdisc.com. ” and even though these things don’t happen over night, but they will happen…..
I know for a fact, once you set your mind to it and you focus on things , they happen…… im going to start some meditation to get me through this one also ,build my mind up and my body.

bernie October 4, 2011

hi all-it is now about 9 weeks since i had my second injection. It is the best thing that i could have done as the pain has all but disappeared, i get the occasional slight pins and needles but only slight. I have had deep tissue massage from my physio and regular pilates. I intend to continue with the pilates and at long last i have started swimming again-note i have been told not to use breastroke, only front or back crawl. Something i have found very encouraging is that stretching and touching my toes was very difficult but with the pilates activity (done with a good instructor) i have found my flexibility returning reasonably quickly and reasonably well (i am 59). I still regularly get panic attacks, sweating and nightmares-ridiculous completely off the wall nightmares-sometimes i sleep freely and other times it is worse-my life and business life are stressfull anyway so that certainly does not help me-on balance i will take these side effects as the pain was far worse-i work on the basis that as i hopefully get fitter and back to some sense of normality (whatever that was) maybe the dreams and other effects will subside. We are of course all often very similar, but in truth all very different, but for me i will continue to bless these injections, and will take a third if needs be with no hesitation. Good luck to everyone-and as our friend josh has said if you focus your mind strongly enough thinks will happen..


Donna October 7, 2011

It’s been 2 weeks since my 2nd injection. I get my final injection in 4 days. I have to say, I feel great and am pain free. No more pain in my buttox or shooting down my leg. Just have a little tingling left, but it doesn’t bother me. The hardest part is that now is, I have decided to go cold turkey off the pain meds, because I have to get my ass back to work, within the next week or so and do not have the time to wean off the meds slowly! The withdrawls are terrible, since I was on percocets for months. I know it will pass though and I will be fine. I did withdrawl one other time and the withdrawls lasted about 4 days and it took a week, before I started getting my energy back.

I think the steroid injections are working well for me, because all I had was bluging disc in L4 and L5. They were NOT herniated, just bulging. The inflamation was pressing on my nerve roots. Now that the injections have taken away the inflamation, my mobility has improved so much and the pain has subsided. :-) I only pray that these injections last a long time. Sometimes if the inflamation is eliminated, the disk can heal itself and pop back in place. I plan on starting to go for long walks again, within the next week or two, after I get my energy back.

I wish you all the best. I’ll give an update in a month or so and let you all know if the injections have lasted. :-) God Bless!

Dwayne October 7, 2011

Just got my 1st shot wednesday. Relief is about 85% after one day. My lower back is feeling much better after that shot. I have to check back with the doc in about 2 weeks. I’m really hoping that this injection holds up until then. I suffer from a bulging disc as well. I felt that strange sensation while recieving the shot! I could feel it shooting thru my body and idown into my toes! It was a quick fix, and that what’s got me a little worried. I’ve been dealing with back issues for a little over a year now. If it’s that simple of a relief, then why wasn’t it suggested way sooner???

Kat October 8, 2011

Hi - I was diagnosed with a L5/S1 disc prolapse about 1 month ago now after about 3 months of sciatic pain that progressively got worse & worse. I had the nerve root injections over 2 weeks ago now and although I feel a slight improvement, I still can’t sit up properly or walk for long without all the sciatic pain/pins & needles etc. My consultant has now booked me in for the discectomy operation in a few weeks, and I wondered if anyone else has had the injections and had slight relief but not enough?

Kathryn October 8, 2011

I’m only 14and all this started last year. I’m having back pain, numb legs and knee pain as I’m a runner ( I stopped running last year) and also a ballerina too. I can’t sit too long as my legs will go numb and my knee will like stiffened? I went to the doctor last two weeks as my back hurts a lot and both my legs were so numb that I could hardly sleep. And the doctor gave me some pain killer and was ask to rest for a week. But now, my back is starting to hurt whenever I sit too long. The numbness from my legs are still there. And now, I really don’t know what to do…

Donna October 8, 2011


On the first day of the injection, you do get instant relief. But most of the time, it’s because they give you pain meds with the injection. I chose to have the sedative “versed” with the shot, so I don’t remember getting the injection at all. If the doctor suggest more then one shot then do it! After my first shot, I was sore also, after a couple of days. It takes time for the inflammation to go away and that is why they recommend a series of 3 shots. I wish they suggested the shots sooner also. It would have saved me 8 months of being on pain killers and having a terrible detox off the pills. I chose to go cold turkey off my pills, because I need to find a job ASAP and I’d rather go through the quick detox. (even if unbearable).

I go for my 3rd injection on Monday and even though I feel a lot better, I am still going to have it done to make sure ALL inflammation around my bulging disk is gone. Good luck to you!

Craig October 11, 2011

Im 33 and woke up 4 months ago with a slightly sore back.
2 weeks later I froze while walking, turns out I have a bulging disc L5 which is pressing on the nerve.

After 2 months of going to a chiro I was referred to a neurosurgeon.
He suggested the injections before looking into surgery. I had my injections 5 days ago and felt relief for the 1st day, the pain has since returned.
As depressing and debilitating as an injury is, I have to believe that things will get better.

I’ve been taking valium, endone, oxycontin and fenech. All of which are great, short term. 4 months of taking pills has got me feeling like I’m going mad, so today I didnt take anything. Im going back to see the Neurosurgeon in 7 weeks and will plead for surgery. Til then, the pain continues.

Donna October 12, 2011


Give the steroid injections a chance. It takes time for inflamation to go down and the shots to work. The injections are ususally in a series of 3 injections, spaced a couple of weeks apart of each other. You can even have sedation with the injection and not feel a thing.

I have the same thing you have. Bulge in L4 and L5, pressing on my nerve roots and had terrible sciatic pain for over a year, before my injections. After having my 3rd and last injection on Monday, I have to say the injections have worked for me personally and I am completely pain free. Before the injections, I couldn’t do much of anything, including sleep without pain meds and a tens unit. I could barely manage doing simple housework, which drove me nuts, since I am a neat freak.

Today I went for a 2 mile walk, cleaned my house and enjoyed the day. I’m not saying the injections work for everyone. They seem to work better on people with sciatic pain, due to inflamation around the nerve roots and bulging disk. I think once the disk are herniated (which is more servere then a bulge), then the injections don’t work as well or in some cases, don’t work at all.

The worst part for me was getting off the pain meds and the horrible withdrawls. But that lasted only for about 5 days. I could have gotten help from the doctor with the withdrawls, but I chose NOT to do it correctly, as I am pressed for time to get back to work.

Now that I have had the SERIES OF 3 injections, my mobility has gotten back to normal, I am pain free and I can get my butt back to work. Before the injections I couldn’t work for a full year. The injections was my last choice after physcial therapy, seeing an ortho doctor, etc.
Might I add, that there is a medication called ” Gabapentin” for nerve pain that works great. It is non-narcotic and targets specifically nerve pain. I wish I took that long before the percs. You may want to ask your doctor about that. I am not a doctor, nor want to give medical advice.

You may want to give the injections (the series of 3) a chance, before you talk to a Neuro doctor about surgery, or give up on the injections. I heard that doctors don’t like to operate on bulging disc, as they can be cured on their own sometimes. They will want you to try the injections and everything else before surgery. 1 injection alone, probably wouldn’t work (it didn’t for me). Since your disc is just bulging and not herniated yet, you are a good candidate for the full series of injections helping you. It took the 3 for me to work and was well worth it to me. I didn’t have any side effects either.

Good luck to you and give it a chance.

John October 12, 2011

Good blog. Found through Google.

50 yrs old with long standing lower back pain. Several motorcycle accidents long ago have resurfaced in the last few years.

MRI shows severe stenosis, degenerative disk disease and a bulging L3 disk. I sit quite a bit (airline pilot) and play hockey on my days off. Oral pain meds are somewhat effective, however Dr. wants to inject Kenalog in my back.

After reading your experiences and reviewing the medical sites for side effects, I am undecided about the injection.

The pain is a known condition and exercise, chiropractor therapy and meds keep it somewhat managable. Seems the injection ‘may’ introduce new problems including additional damage, cardiac issues (disqualifying for my job), weight gain and renal issues.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Cindy November 1, 2011

excellent blog. was recommended for injection by surgeon yesterday in toronto. l4/l5 hernia and stenosis. debilitating on so many levels. will rethink this all now. thanks Cindy

Cindy November 1, 2011

if there is anyone who may wish to provide pain clinic resource information for these shots, i would appreciate that very much.

Donna November 2, 2011

Hi Cindy,

You might want to Google “Pain Center” and your state. I live in Arizona and go to The Pain Center of Arizona for my lumbar steroid injections. I had the series of 3 shots and have bulding disc of the l4/l5. The shots worked and all my pain is gone. It did take the 3 shots to get total pain relief. However, once the disk is herniated, it may not work as well. Ask your doctor. I heard that the shots work best if the disk are just bulging and not herniated (ruptured). I had my last shot 3 weeks ago and I am still pain free. I hope it last. It’s so great to finally get off the pain meds. I had the sciatic pain shooting all the way down my leg, it was awful. I was on narcotics for 8 months. I wish I had the shots sooner and save me months of having to take narcotics. The withdrawls were horrible. Good luck to you! Keep us posted.

stacy November 4, 2011

Need some advice was given an MRI in may bugleing disk of the L4 no spinal stenosis started with a chiro did good for a while went to PT as well now noticed i cant sit for long i get pelvic pain chiro said it is my muscles so i joinged a place to do water exersises ok till i sit again, i was thinking of the injections anyone have any answers for me?
i have no leg pain and the chiro used ultra sound on the butt to break up pain and sciatia is almost gone just pelvic pain when i sit he told me to stand or lay down all day and rest.

Joe November 9, 2011

I’m 42 and try to keep up with my kids. I injured my back 3 years ago playing basketball(with my kids). I finally went in last week, to a real doctor….because the pain got unbearable, after starting a remodel project. Herniated and torn discs L3 and L4. I am now taking 200mg of Gabapentin. I honestly don’t know if it is doing anything. I am taking vicodin which helps get me through the night. I just got a referral to see the neurosurgeon, but not for 5 weeks. I anticipate the injections with much hope for relief. I know the injury will not go away, I just want relief. My family is going to Disney World in March ( I am dreading the pain)
One of the worst pains is the sharp shooting pain through the center of my pelvis….no warning and it darn-near sends me to my knees.
You all have my sympathy!

Donna November 9, 2011

I don’t think the steroid injections will work well, once the discs are herniated or torn. You may end up having to get surgery. But I’m no doctor.
I was told by the Pain Center of Arizona (where I go), that the injections works best on people with sciatic pain from pinched nerves, due to disc bulge. Once the disc is herniated and torn, its a whole other ball game. My hubby had what you had and only got relief from surgery. My injections worked for me, because my disc is only a bulge. The injections have helped me about 70 percent in relief. I no longer have to take narcotics, thank God! It was horrible detoxing off that crap. However, I do take gabapentin like you, which works great for “nerve pain”. The only down side is that it makes you drowsy and best taken at night. I’m on 300mg, but will probably increase my dose soon. At least it’s not narcotic and I can work now and have a clean pee test. I couldn’t work on percocets. Good luck to you.

Johannes Klupfel November 13, 2011

I have been having back pain for the last 20 years due to a fall in the mid l970,s. I have had 3 back surgeries and am now wearing an implanted back stimulator that was implanted about ll/2 years ago. I am still taking medication. I have just started taking Oxycontin with a back up of OXYCODONE apap 10-325. I am still in pain unless I take an Oxycontin every 3 to 4 hours. The doctor is in the process of deciding how much pain medication per day to keep me free of pain.
Can you please help me with other things that I could do in order to stop the pain.
I will try most anything at this point.

ian sobieck November 15, 2011

seems like what happened to me was malpractise.
a doctor had me on a very large dose of klonopin then suddenly, d/c’ed that.
5 days later it was a stroke coma renal failure liver shock heart attack convulsions.
and paralysis from the crush injury resuling from being in a coma 3 days on the floor.
i said all that to say this, try suing a doctor if you live in a state with tort reform.
it aint gonna happen left me stuck with a lifetime of disability and zero compensation not even an apology.
so it turns out my sciatic nerve is damaged beyond repair and i have drop foot and excrutiating pain and can barely walk.
corticosteroid shots seem to help with the pain and inflammation.

Isabel Gomez December 5, 2011

I am 25yrs old and have had back problems since I was 18. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is to know I’m not the only one. I have no medical insurance and have had the most difficult time getting cared for. Doctors never want to reccomend me for any scans.. and the first time I was hospitalized the doctor mentioned I was “in there for the drugs”. At this point I am prepared to pay for an MRI scan out of pocket. I have lost 50lbs which helps tremendously but at this moment my back “goes out” every 3 weeks. I’m missing so much work and I’ve become so depressed. icing and hot packs help… I’m too scared to work out cause I dnt know what will happen after and I can’t take any anti-inflamatorys because they make me insanely naseous. My family and friends fear for me as I do for myself. I’ve recentley been brought forth the idea of injections. I don’t know what’s wrong for sure except that I get a really sharp pain that hits the right side first. then the left hurts an I’m done. use to take me weeks to get back but I’ve mentally trained myself to deal and manage to get back up within a few days to a week. physical therapy helped as far as having less tension on my muscles. I just don’t know what to do at this point. im motivated to be active but just can’t do it physically cause everything I try kills my back in the end. shots? MRI? any suggestions? emailing me with support? feel free. HELP.

Isabel Gomez December 5, 2011

and to add one more thing. will I ever be able to get pregnant and have children being under these kinds of conditions? or is this out of the question for me now.

Marie Eder December 17, 2011

I had a traumatic fracture of my L1 on April fools’ day while learning a new move on the BOSU at the gym.. Recovery was fairly uneventful except for pain. I did have (to date) two cortisone injections several months ago. Now I have pain all the time in my left leg. It wakes me in the night. I am supposed to fly to Germany on 6 January. Do you think another injection would ease the pain and help with mobility? I have been working out at the gym 3X a week and doing squats, leg curls and leg presses to regain strength in quads etc. (I was told leg lifts are a no-no yet.) I use Tylenol for pain. The arthritis strength (650) two tablets two or three times a day.

mel December 29, 2011

To all of you that had good experiences with the epidural injections I am very happy for you. To the doctor John I agree with you and my surgeon said NO more injections as they screw with your bones. I had 2 injections within 2 weeks and the first one I had relief for 3 days and the second made me worse and i developed walking problems, so needless to say i never got a 3rd which they were pushing and pushing hard and that makes me wonder is this a money making business to prey on people with severe pain.

I had to stop working in the office and worked from home 5 days a week because i coudl not drive or get in and out of the car, take showers go up steps etc. I found out on the MRI that none of these excuse the excpression quacks told me about was a HUGE herniated disk pressing on the spinal cord and nerves coming out at L1L2. It wasnt until i sent my MRI out of state to a spinal specialits surgeon that he came back and pointed that out.

Why did none of these local ortho doctors spotted it on the MRI if I could see it once i looked or figured out how to look at the MRI. Were the injections a much more profitable way for them not me?

Well I had severe back problem low back and numbness in my toes fee an legs. After the second injection I had severe paion in my legs and could barely walk so i remained in my house at all times. I just had my herniated disck removed and all the back pain is gone but i live with the pain in my legs still that i got from the 2 nd injection and i mean while they were doing the injection they created this pain and it never went away.

It seems to go down my legs from the hip area. I am having someone take a look at my hip joint I am just wondering since it surfaced after the 2nd injection could the injection could the injection screw with my hip jpint as dr john said. I could walk before the injections I just had back pain After surgery I got relief from that just left with this leg pain and still cant walk.

Sam January 16, 2012

Reading all these posts have given me alot of feed back on what to do next as i am relatively new to this kind of injury. I felt an powerful electric shock ram up my hamstring when i was doing some pretty heavy dumbell deadlifts. The day i was perfectly fine however, following my usual gym route the week after i did my squat workout on the barbell around 215lbs which was my working weight. After my sets had finished I got back to the changing room and found my hamstring and leg wobbling like crazy. Later that night sleeping i was in agony in every sleeping position imaginable and there was a point where i attempted to sleep standing up leaning against my wardrobe. Since then I have not deadlifted or squated at the gym or played any football and its been about a good 2 months. Even now i have shooting pain against my ankle/shin bone and a radiating hamstring pain.. now i realise what i need to do in the next 8 months to get back into sport and the things I love doing before it gets worse. And, fortunetly for me i do not need any surgery or injections but just suffering from the basic symptoms of a bulging disc and nerve inflammation.. this blog and everyones posts has helped me alot and not to take anything for granted.

Thanks for your help everyone.

Alan Wuertenberg February 16, 2012

I have had sciatic problems going backward over 20 years. The first mild one was from sports and by using Tai Chi, it gradually went away. The second attack, 4 years ago, went away after 8 mos. of “conservative treatment” with an EPI of cortisone. This time, I have been in pain in my lower back, left hip and thigh with shooting pains into the knee and at the top of the hip. I can’t take RX pain meds due to respiratory issues and have been using ice, rotating OTC pain meds and a tens unit. I have had my 2nd EPI over 2 weeks. How soon after the 2nd shot can I safely use a tens unit?

Karen Blesius April 5, 2012

I had my first cortisone injection on 3/26 d/t bulging discs (L4/L5), tear and edema. I had 100% relief for 6 glorious days and then tweaked my back again lifting my daughter onto the toilet for potty training of all things!! I felt like a million dollars and now am back to where I was before. Today is day 9….I am hoping that with the 800 mg of Ibuprofen that I have taking 3x a day that I will be back to feeling good again soon.

Fred April 14, 2012

Hi Everyone

This is a great post. Lots of real words from real people that have back issues. Here is a quick overview of my personal issues with back pain

At the age of 24 I hurt my back in the gym…a few visits to the chiro and I was fine. MRI showed bulging disc on L4-5…went on with life with no issues…played basketball up to the age of 30 when I got married.

within the age of 30 and 35..I was standing on a chair and fell on my feet forward..I felt my entire hip, spine just rattle…I had to drag my self using the wall and stop every 6 feet to make it to the parking lot and so I can drive myself home…awful pain..I was in bed for 3 days taking anti-inflammatory and ice. I was back to normal after that but a few weeks later i squatted down to pick up the hose and i felt a sharp electrical pain on my right leg that dropped me to my knees…I had ask my ex wife for help to get me inside the house…some bed rest ice and anti-inflam pills and was back to normal

in Oct 2009 i went our on a date and sat on a picknik bench..I felt sore when I got up but thought it was just the hard bench…the next day I couldnt walk..I couldnt walk for a week…I went to the chiro when i was able to walk a bit and he adjusted me..i wasnt able to sit for 2 min…i would feel this incredible pressure on my spine…horrible and depressing..had to sleep on my stomach..anyhow, i ended going to the chiro for 3 months straight 3 times a week..it helped but didnt last to long.

2010 was a horrible year..couldnt sit for to long, didnt want to go out. had to sleep the entire year on my stomach..also went to 2 PT that showed me some core exercises..I never stopped going to the gym which I think was a MISTAKE because I would always find a way to aggravate my back.
I think if you want to stay active just WALK …if you can sit use the bike..but dont lift any weights..even if they are machines..i found that someway some how if you lift weight while trying to recoup ..the movements and even the way you sit or lay yourself on the machines makes you twist or put extra pressure on your back…

2011 ..around march or so I was able to sit without pressure on my back..just felt sore when i got up especially at my office chair..in my car i didnt have pain…also i was finally able to lay on my back..also started sleeping on my side with a pillow in between..this helped me I believe..still was going to the gym but cut down the days and started only using machines ..no more heavy weights for me or shoulder presses..they put your spine under a lot of stress…I bought a good quality lumbar support and chair support for my office chair…that helped a lot..i had a cheap support on it before and every time I got up my back was so sore…this has cut it down significantly…I Tried swimming also at the beginning of the year but that gave me painful SCIATICA..so i dropped..i think it was to soon for that but swimming is good for your back..just got to wait a while before you start.. …Late 2011 I started feeling better but SCIATICA creeps in when i lay on my back…when I get up it goes away,

2012 Back is much better but now have sciatica on both legs..it hits me on the left and right soles and make my big left toe twitch…I dont take any pain meds at all..was taking Ibuprofen last year ..here and there but not everyday…I went to a back dr here at University of Miami..and he made me stretch and do some walks etc and said tho walk 2 a day for 30 min…stop doing chiro, massages, inversion table, traction and stretches..he says they irritate the facet joints…so now im doing what he said but stretch here and there…did notice an improvement when i dint stretch but than felt the same when i did..so not sure…my back is not 100..it does feel sore when sitting for a while..when i get up i feel as i walk funny due to the soreness…my biggest issue now is the SCIATICA.

I have not jogged in 2 years because im afraid…I had a friend of mine have a shot of cortisone and she says its been 7 year and no issues..my best friend mom had one to and it lasted a year..but than again she worked as a house keeper so all the bending makes it worst..

As of now im looking for another doc so I can get an MRI..my last MRI was in 2010 and I would like to see whats new with my back..especially since i feel sciatic pain on both legs now….so perhaps a cortisone shot would work for me..

Anyhow good luck to all of you..if you are over weight lose weight by walking and eating right..red meat causes inflammation..so try to limit it God bless.

Mark Stevens April 20, 2012

Hi All,
I have followed the posts with great interest. I am a 6 foot one 47 year old male with lower back and sciatic issues going back to my late teens. I have used Chiro’s, physios and anti inflammatories off and on for a long time. My issues may have been caused from heavy weight training, football to playing cricket. I also had long periods with no issues at all.
Before this year I was always able to get the pain to settle by taking it easy for a few days and see a chiro or physio but not this year.
I had issues that grew worse late December 2011. A short term job where I lifted incorrectly and a couple of long 10 hour drives made the pain unbearable and inflamed the problem. Left hip pain, lower back pain, left hamstring pain,left thigh pain, upper left calf pain and numbness in the soul of my left foot. Even testicular pain at some stages. Sitting and driving were extremely uncomfortable and mad it feel worse. I was literally in tears of a night time. Exercising including swimming inflamed it if anything and over the counter pain killers were useless. I even lost 8 kilo’s (currently 104) kg’s to try and help. The Gonstead chiropractor was leaving me in pain for a week after some visit’s.
It was only after a visit to an Osteo who took one look at how I was standing and said don’t let another chiro, physio or anyone manipulate or adjust you. You have full blown Sciatica. Let it rest. It is a 6 to 8 week injury. He referred me to the doctor who referred me again for a Lower back CRT scan. It showed a small L3\L4 bulge and a large L4\L5 bulge with a protusion with disk matter around the nerve root almost certainly impeding the L4\L5 nerve root. A Celestone shot under a CRT scan was recommended. Apart from nearling throwing up after the local in my lower back, I could feel immediate release in my left hamstring as the celestone was being injected. On review the exercise I was previosuly doing was making it worse.
It has been approx 8 weeks since the injection and I have improved incredibly. Improvement was slow at first but gradual over the 8 weeks as the Osteo said it would be. Still not 100% but can sit, drive and work. I have done little exercise except for using a physio roll , walking and a few push-ups now the inflammation has settled. I still take Celebrex and can feel a few clicks in the lower back when I do a little stretching during the day.
I may have another scan soon and see if another Celestone shot might clear it right up.
January 2011 I didn’t think I would work for a year but am back on my feet. Back care and maintenance looks like a lifetime prospect now. I would recommend a scan to anyone with back issues to pinpoint the issues and then treat from there on.
Wishing everyone with back issues good luck.

Melbourne Australia

Skrap May 4, 2012

I’ve been reading the posts here and am pleased to have found the site. (Googled my way here.) I’ve been dealing with a lower back issue for over 7 months, originally hurt lifting weights (squats, kettlebell swings, and walking with a weighted vest). An MRI found I have L5/S1 issues, the L5 being ruptured. I recently had my second steroid injection. The first helped, but wasn’t enough. I continued having problems walking and standing. I’ve contined to workout with upper body strength work, but am very interested in what I CAN do exercise-wise to help. I do light stretching for my lower back and hamstrings mixed with careful crunches. I hate not being able to even walk. What exercises are advisable?

Amie May 28, 2012

Reading through all of these comments has really helped me accept that I am going to experiance some sort of pain for the rest of my life.
I am 32 and have prolapsed disc’s in L4/L5,L5/S1, T7/8 and T11/12. I have had 5 cortizone injections over the past 10months since being injured at work. The first two injections where in my L4/l5, L5/S1 not knowing what to expect I did go through mild pain whilst this was happening. I found that I proberly had aprox 1month pain free (that was in August 2011). The next injection was in my T11/12 which was painful but manageable (Nov 2011) but a week later I had my S1 nerve block and experianced the most demonic pain in which went from right to left then shooting back to the right side of my lower back then shooting down through my right hip , then all the way down the outside of my leg then the outside of my ankle , then on top of my right foot through to my toes. I also experianced pain in the right side of my groin. Thankfully that experiance was worth it as I got about 2 months worth of no pain. The next step was spinal surgery - Discectomy…. Through out these 10months I have been in physio once a week and also started again with hydrotherepy, I ve also had about 5 MRI’s and 1 CT scan and 5 ct guided cortizone injection. One would think that the surgery would be a success and in some ways it was but I have still been experiancing PAIN. It scares me as Im on constant medication Lyrica75mg twice a day, Norgesic three times a day, Tremole 150mgs x twice a day and last but not least I had to get my anti-depressants increased as one day found myself with a stanly blade resting on my wrist wanting to slice upwards. Im not one for quitting but when you’ve spent your whole young adult life keeping up with men and doing male jobs lifting 40kgs by yourself , then suddenly not be able to lift ANYTHING the question of What do I do now? arises. So my nerosurgon has not been to happy with my lack of progress and asked me to get another shot but in my L5 disc and said that the MRI showed my L5 disc colapsing and this last shot would determine the removal of my L5 disc and the replacement with a artifical disc. So Ive had the shot and it stirred everything up and I didnt get relief - which I was expecting to as the doc who gave it didnt get it in the actal L5 nerve he put it in the “Space” between. The lack of demonic pain (dont get me wrong it was painful but nothing like the S1 injection) which felt in previous injections and it seemed that the amount that was injected was less than every other injection. So now that I havent had any relief my Nerosurgon is stumped at what to do next then he said that there is one more proceedure left to do which is call a Discography. He has warned me that it is NOT a nice experiance at all and is worse than the cortizone injections. The proceedure is to inject dye or saline into the disc and inflame it to see whether its the L5 disc or S1 and based on those results he can either remove the crappy disc or leave things as they are as there would be nothing he can do….. :( So if anyone has gone through this proceedure please let me know whether its worth the pain mentally and physically
Thank you for reading this long post but Im almost ready to give in…

Private Citizen June 20, 2012

Hi Folks,
Been awhile, but I’m back ;)

For some of you that don’t know me, read my previous posts, lol.

Anyway, today I had facet injections both left and right at L4-5 & L5-S1. Feeling great, except the lidocaine hasn’t worn off yet, so I’m walking as if I were impaired.

Just wanted to let you folks know something, that I always failed to post in this thread, which I hope doesn’t bother you, but you should urinate more often, even if you don’t have to, as well as evacuate your bowels more than you have to. Reason being, is the size and pressures built up on the back walls of just these 2 systems, exerts that pressure onto the spinal column/nerves/discs. Same goes for eating, gorging on food, and especially gaseous one, will exert un-do pressures as well. I know this should have been said a long time ago, but I discovered this myself, since I WAS a big fan of beans for carbs, and cabbage just because I’m Hungarian.

Other than that, I’m going to end this, since the lidocaine is starting to wear off and I need to get horizontal. So gla, and if you want to email me, it’s theprivatecitizen@gmail.com .

Godspeed to All of Us!!

The PC :)

Private Citizen June 20, 2012

@ Skrap

When you do stomach crunches, use a chair to elevate your calves to a horizontal level with the floor. If you have core fat, or flab, that is the main key to a healthier back?? I’ve been doing this foreverrrrrrrrr, it helps alot to work the core, but don’t overdue it, since you have cortisone, and now everything is well and done, BUT it’s not. Cortisone is a mask, but you are still injured, or plagued, as I call it. You know this, so work within your realm, period. Hope this helps, ‘cuz I’ve been putting up with mine for over 3.5 years!! Even with cortisone, if it don’t hurt, you’re still hurt!!


The PC :)

Dave September 24, 2012

I have worked out with weights since I was 16 years old. When I was 48 I had my first lower back problem which the doctor got me through with pain killers and muscle relaxers. When I was 55 I got bulging discs at L4/L5 and LS1 from doing heavy verticle leg presses, the discs were also degenerated. I stopped working out and used anti-inflammatories for the next 5 years until the pain was to great. I had laproscopic disc surgery at age 60 which trimmed the disc away from the siatic nerve. The pain returned in 9 months. I went on Lyrica (150mgs twice daily) and the pain stopped and has controlled the pain, I am know 68 years old. I opted to not have cortisone shots or fusion from the recommendation of the radiologist that read my MRI. He said they would only be short term fixes. I am very careful about what I pick up. I get along okay as long as I don’t engage in walking to long of a distance. I guess you just have to change your life style.

Dani December 11, 2012

Oh the joys of back pain and disc bulges!

9 years ago was my first bout of disc pain when I picked up something way too heavy. It went for a year undiagnosed until I moved to a new city and my new doctor immediately had a CT scan scheduled for me. I had a slight disc bulge at my L5. It was great finally having a reason for constant sciatic pain and a year of uncomfortable sleep. Through rest and just taking it easy it went away, but a year later I slipped on a grape in a grocery store of all things and that just made things erupt all over again. I was bedridden for 2 weeks, unable to hardly function. Standing, sleeping, sitting…nothing comfortable. Fortunately, I had an amazing physiotherapist who put me through an intense routine of physio, stretching, massage, chiro, acupuncture and active release. Within 2 months I was back to normal.
I’ve been active since my last injury, CrossFit, running, Rockclimbing but
I just reinjured my back a week ago. I have no idea what I did, but the same symptoms prevail. This time around though, the pain is much more intense and I have a 3 year old to parent as well. It’s horrible not being able to stand up for more than 5 minutes without severe pain shooting down my leg. I’ve been seeing a chiro and massage therapist and I begin acupuncture in 2 days. I’m contemplating a cortisone shot just so that I can go back to work and so that I can sit with my son without having a major musle spasm.
Thanks for al the input reagrding the cortisone. I’m getting better bit by bit but the intesity of the pain is like nothing I’ve felt before.

Mo December 19, 2012

Hi All

Im going in for a cortisone injection on my L5/S1 in a day or two, and though im not looking forward to it i just cant take this anymore.

I am 35 and before this I was very sporty. I worked out 3 or 4 times during the week, pushed weights, did interval training and my weekends were saved for my real passion, golf.

Now even just going for a walk results in hours of pain and i havent played a round of golf in almost 3 months, an now it looks like it will be at least another month and mostly likely 2 or 3, with no guarantees that I will be able to even then. Im fucking losing it.

Im putting on weight now too, as my body snaps back from being very active to now doing heaps of fuck all.

I was wondering, what do you guys do to fight off the depression that goes along with this? I have tried to get into computer games but its not really working, I like reading and i have tried that, but that only lasts as long as the good book does. And i get bored and restless just sitting all the time.

Any advice for an endorphin junkie going cold turkey?

Private Citizen January 27, 2013

Hi Mo,
Getting back into golf is a bad idea, since way too much torque on the back, and even with cortisone, you’re still injured, and you fuck things up worse. I’m like you, sports all the time, but now, it’s just sport to cut the fucking grass!! I couldn’t get into video games, but used the internet to learn about investing and trading online. I wall mounted a flat screen LED w/ VGA input, a tower connected to it, and use a wireless keyboard and mouse combo to contro and read the tv. I bought a nice recliner to do all this from, so I have support for my back, legs elevated, neck and spine aligned.

From an excercise standpoint, I found cycling pretty good on smooth roads and passes with the tires slightly deflated. Swimming has proven not too bad, and yoga is very good, and you can pull routines off YouTube, which is bonus!!

So as it stands, no more sports for me like my baseball, basketball, bowling, and it even sucks to watch ‘cuz you just want to get into the game so bad, drag!! Better a lifestyle change, at least for me, than surgery!!

Hope some of this helps, and good luck to you.


Jessica Rodgers February 21, 2013

Hi, I’m 24 and I found out a few weeks ago I have a bulging disc at L3 L4. I had a cortisone injection on 2/19/13. Its 12:10AM on 2/21/13 so far the pain is about 25% better, but my back feels stiff. I have to call my doctor later today to let them know how much it helped. I think I’m going to have to get another injection. My doctor also wants me to start physical therapy(I start 2/22/13). I’m worried that I’ll have to have surgery or they won’t be able to help. I had back surgery when I was 15, I have a plastic disc at L4 L5 because I only had a paper thin layer left of my disc. I found out about a month ago that it didn’t fuse all the way. I also found out that I have two cracks in my S1. My doctors are not sure which of the three is causing my pain, but they think its the bulging disc. I really hope the cortisone injection works and that the bulging disc is the problem and that it can be fixed. I hate not being able to do stuff. Does anyone with back pain have a hard time getting up from a seated position or getting dressed? I feel like I’m 60 some days. I lost my job because of having to call in from the pain. I just need to talk to someone who understands. I hope that all of you can have less to NO PAIN. Good Luck to everyone who is suffering.

ACB May 3, 2013

Thank you all for taking the time to chime in on this topic! You’ve no idea how helpg these posts have been for me. Just had my very first Celestone cortisone injection to help ease the pain recently diagnosed in my L5 S1 today. The pain of the two injections was tolerable and I felt a welcomed numbness under my lower back muscle as the Celestone took effect. No burning sensation for me, just some mild leg weakness. Thanks to your posts and my readings, I had been icing prior to injection and of course am currently. Once finally having an MRI last week, I am aware now of arthritis in my joints as a result of a bulged disc and I’m not quite 40 yet. Despite several doctor visits I was never advised to alternate my exercise from running to something less impactful. Again, you all have helped me realize I need to opt for a different exercise regimen once I devote several weeks of core/lower back strengthening. I’ve ordered a back brace and lumbar support foru office chair and I’m anxious to see how successful (lasting) this injection is in my case. I’m prepared for all the less desirable side effects and have a standing follow-up appointment with the specialist in 2 weeks. I hope to be able to cancel it based on my back feeling well again! I’ll check in again in a week with updates on my “recovery”.

May you (and me too) all be blessed with minimal pain and a better quality of life!

JsDMed May 17, 2013

Lot’s of great information here in the comment section. I am doing some research to see what other people are doing as my condition has worsened over time.
I’m 41 and in Dec. 2010 I fell on the ice while carrying my 1.5 year old daughter. Thankfully she was okay; however I ruptured my L3-L4 discs and had surgery in March of 2011. Since then I found out I have nerve displacement in the L3-L4 area that has a nerve up against the spinal cord that is causing Sciatica down the left leg. I also ended up with a great deal of scar tissue. Before & since the surgery I have been receiving Epidurals & Cortisone for Bursitis in my left thigh. I have made two attempts and physical therapy and just started again last week. I almost had to stop because for the third time the therapist failed to realize that I have nerve issues on both sides of the spine not just the left side.
My symptoms on my left side have always been left side pain in buttocks, thigh, and left calf on outside has been numb since surgery. Recently my left toes have been uncontrollable and numb as well.
I started therapy last Monday and they were focused on laying on right side to alleviate left side symptoms. By thursday evening my right foot was numb, right testicle was killing me and I was ready to give up again. I talked with therapist and now they have figured out it is nerve issues on both sides. I feel like I have just been set 6 months back.
With the new symptoms it sounds like I am now having problems with L2 & L5. In the past I was recommended a Fusion and refused but now I feel like I am being backed in a corner…..
Has anyone felt like they have improved by having a second surgery or a fusion done? From my research I am still against having a fusion done but I may be left with no choice…..
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks

ACB May 17, 2013

To JsDMed: You sound like you’re living in a lot of pain. My heart goes out to you. I do not have any experience with surgeries…yet. I am keeping my option open but I’m also not at a level of severity as you sound. I hope you gain the insight you need to make the right choice.

I’m exactly two weeks out from my first round of cortisone injections - Celestone. Anyone have experience with this brand? I had two injections; L5 and S1 both times. I have a bulged disc and the joints are arthritic. I don’t have any sciatic pain but most days I hover around a 5 on the 1-10 pain scale and my flare ups take me to an 8-10. There were 2 days of extreme comfort and minimal pain after the first round of injections that evolved into pain at the site of the injections and it started to feel better as the soreness wore off. This didn’t last and my familiar pain eased its way back and I decided to keep the standing appt. I had for round two of shots. And here I am. The shouts are so much more painful two weeks apart. But aside from soreness, not feeling other side-effects. Icing it and hoping this will last me long enough to get strong in my core & back and not overdoing it. I appreciate all the info you all have posted on this site!

Private Citizen May 29, 2013

Never had the Celestone, here in Windsor, Canada, they use & prescribe Depo-Medrol. I received this injection as a facet injection in the hospital under a scope, which sucked and didn’t work 2 times at all, but my GP injects it in-office IM, and he is god!! Maybe time to ask your GP to try the Depo. Maybe the Celestone is not the right one for you, or he/she don’t know the hot spots. Sorry, but we are all human lab rats, but with time, you will find your happy med, and maybe your GP will find the happy spots. Most of the spots my GP hits are the pressure points, and with an MRI, those can be found in a heartbeat!! The pressure points are where the muscle presses on the nerves, and where the pain originates from the spinal canal. This following chart is awesome for what nerves effect which parts of the body and originate from which part of the spinal column that is causing the pain.


From this map, you can tell exactly where from the spine the pain is originating from, which is the best map I’ve found so far!! My GP hits it with Depo IM right next to L4-5, and L5-S1, and then a little outward, using 6ml total volume, and to a total distance of about 2″ from the spinal column on each side.

So anyway, I listed lots of info on my med, my injection sites, and all via IM. Hope this helps, and if you need more info, scroll up and read alllll my comments and tidbits of advise. Works for me as a regiment, but I, you, and everybody else will have to experiment to what does it for you. Everybody is different in the way pain is managed, and I’m happy with my regiment, since I REFUSE to have surgery!!!!!!!

GL to Me, You, and Everybody Else!! Godspeed Us!!


Private Citizen May 29, 2013

Oops, before writing my above post, I just had another round of Depo shots, and the lidocaine has worn off while writing it, so therefore time to go horizontal, and the usual Wednesday write-off. But a fair trade-off because I feel minimal pain and I can go ahead and do the jobs I scheduled for Thursday, since this is, and has become my routine :)


Attila August 6, 2013

I have had a work accident by lifting and carry a water compressor `12 January.
The MRI show two prolapsed disk L4/L5 I have went back to work until I have collapsed in November, since than I am off work.
I have been trough the Tramadol, naproxen ”therapy” and I have received passive physiotherapy, means DIY :-(
In the begging was able to use my inversion bench on the daily base and it felt good, if I would try this today it feels really bad, like when a old scare opens up :-(
After 9 months I would consider myself 70% better compare to day 1.
The major inflammation and pain is gone but there is a bulging disk poking to the rear left and as a result, I have pain on my left hip as it is ”raised” by the bulge and also developed pain and over sensitivity in my right feet as I tend to lean right and put more weight onto my right feet.
now I have been scheduled for injection and I would like to ask what do you think?
do i need it or is there any other way to treat my problem?

todd September 10, 2013

I am a 36 year old man, drive rubbish trucks for a living. Many of the drivers are on compo or in pain due to the repetitive and constant turning of the head and neck but I seem to be worse and had different symptoms to them, in constant pain. It’s been in 8 weeks of living hell, was not thinking good things, beginning to scare my family. After having physio twice a week, and living on pain killers that only dulled the pain, I felt no difference. Today I had injection in my c6 {left shoulder} I’m hopping that it works because I have had enough pain and would like to go back to work without pain

Don November 5, 2013

I have a question or concern that I’m hoping one or more of you might have some insight.

I’m 58 years old and I have issues between my L4 and L5 and it’s been going on for over 4 months now. It started when I was shoveling beauty bark and twisting as I was throwing it up a hill. The pain isn’t down my leg and it’s just when I start to bend over that it hurts and sometimes there is a burning sensation in the area when my pelvis is tilted at a wrong angle.

I go to my doctor and have exrays show moderate arthritis but the spine and disc seem fine. Doctor prescribed voltaren (a topical that you rub in) AND injections. Well, the voltaren worked so well I canceled the injections.

Then I went to play pickleball (a game I live for) and now I feel like I’m back to square one. The voltaren doesn’t seem to be working as well this time. I ask the doctor if I should have an MRI and she says the shots are the first step and the insurance won’t allow the MRI until that has been done. I feel that if I give my back a week or two I can be pain free like it was before I played pickleball.

I know this sounds silly but my biggest fear is I won’t be able to play pickleball again.

Ok, now to the question(s). 1) should I get the injections even if I’m not in much pain? 2) Should I push for the MRI?

Private Citizen December 5, 2013

To Todd: Have no idea what pickleball is, but it does sound delicious! You need the MRI first to know what you are dealing with, #1. Topical Volteran Emugel is just that, topical, you would either want to start with an Aleve or Motrin, if no worky, medication wise, cortisone as a LAST resort. The pain in your pelvis is a sciatic pain, stemming from the spine. My advise, since dealing with all this is, ice on the spine at 4 & 5, and chill on the pickleball, otherwise if the pain gets TOO great, THEN consider the cortisone. Just my 2 cents, and I’ve been dealing with DDD for the last 8 years. Good luck to you, and hope all works out.



Private Citizen December 5, 2013

To Todd again: If your Dr is prescribing Emulgel, then he’s thinking muscle strain. I would pay the money for an mri, cuz the way it sounds, something is out of wack, when you say pelvic pain. I bet a disc, but that’s just me. I WOULD do the mri just to eliminate a disc problem.

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