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Bill R
02-22-2009, 03:49 PM
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I did some damage to my lower back, resulting in bulging L5-S1 and L4-L5 disks. Fast forward 10 years to this fall when I had a HEAVY transmitter drop on me trying to move it with inexperienced help. Few months later, and the pain is just getting worse, along with nerve problems in my leg. Multiple Dr visits, xrays and an MRI and it has been discovered that my L5-S1 disk has significantly deteriorated, and there is a lot of scar tissue around the nerves.

I am seeing a chiropractor 2-3x a week and doing all the recommended exercises. Modifying my activities as much as possible, etc.

Dr. has recommended cortisone injections to ease the swelling in the area and resultant pain. Chiropractor concurs. I really don't like the idea, and am not a fan of drugs or chemicals, but nothing else we have tried has helped. Has anyone had this done, and if so, did it help?

bob winter
02-22-2009, 03:56 PM
I know one guy who had it done but it was only a temporary fix. Avoid chiropractors. They have been know to sometimes cause more problems than they fix.

capt jake
02-22-2009, 04:02 PM
I have degenerative disc disease in my neck. Recently discovered bulging disc at C5-6-7. I went through the 3 rounds of injections. 1st one didn't do poo. 2nd one helped a lot. 3rd one and now I have a little pain but not even close to the amount I had prior to the injections. BTW, the 3rd one was about 10 days ago. I am back to work now with the reduced pain.

I work with at least two others who have lumbar issues and each of them had very good success with the injections.

The injections were relatively painless. Less than that of a mosquitoe.

Bobcat
02-22-2009, 04:03 PM
Injections are usually recommended and they sometimes help. Even when they do help, the effects are sometimes temporary. They are helpful not only for pain relief, but to diagnose the problem. Surgery is often recommended if the injections do not solve the problems.

epoxyboy
02-22-2009, 04:05 PM
A work colleague has/had very similar problem - damage disc with severe back pain, one leg tingling and going numb due to pressure on a nerve. After an MRI the surgeon reccommended he try a cortisone injection as a less invasive solution compared to surgery. He has had a very substantial improvement - off all pain relief meds and moving freely again.

Pete

pefjr
02-22-2009, 04:09 PM
Yes, for a shoulder rotator cup. I had two at the same time, recommendation by the Dr. One quick acting, one for delayed action, lasted 3 mos. Yes, it works to ease the pain and made me think I had no problem, so I went ahead with life and actually made my problem worse(tennis). Not to mention side effects. 3 mos.later problem is back and now surgery was recommended. I fired the Dr. , hired a rehabilitative specialist and rebuilt my shoulder with simple exercises. 7 yrs now and no problem. Of course, your problem is difficult to rehabilitate.

reddog
02-22-2009, 04:45 PM
Bill;I have similar issues with the same two discs which resulted in surgery,oh,nine years ago.Prior to the surgery,which "fixed" the problem for 8&1/2 years,I had a cortisone injection.I had been having major lower back pain,sciatica,foot numbness,the whole nine yards.That disappeared about a week after the injection.I was pain free for about six months until one day on a buddy's schooner I was reaching for the mooring line with the boat hook,whoops bad move.I would research the effects of cortisone,especially if used long term.It may turn you off.BTW I have found a chiropractor who works for my back and have been seeing a osteopath who has me doing core strengthing exercises.All with very positive results.The most difficult part of all this for me has been training myself to realize I just can't do certain things anymore and have to modify others.The 'bullin' and tearin' I used to be able to do in my 20's and 30's just doesn't happen anymore.I have also gained a great respect for a healthy back.
Good luck;

Earl

paladin
02-22-2009, 05:37 PM
They normally say that sometimes the first one doesn't work, so you get another....then sometimes another......I was sitting at a stop light in a Buick regal...rear ended at 55 mph by a lady in an F350...threw my car over 20 feet through the air across a ditch, knocking me unconscious for over half an hour.....I found that the shots are at best a temporary fix.....so the doc gives me a half dozen or so oxycodone to chew on every day.....they make me sick so I end up 3-4 times a day getting a really hot shower on my back and taking a half a pill every 4 hours or so.....

Phillip Allen
02-22-2009, 05:38 PM
worked for me...the arm would ache for hours at a time...got the shot and went cruising for 3 months...don't forget the cruising...tropical waters

shark_ef
02-22-2009, 06:22 PM
i had cortisone shots prescribed to me when i tore out the left side of my back...i didn't have them done (i'm pretty uncomfortable about shots) but the reason they had mentioned was to break the pain cycle so i didn't do more damage when my muscles tightened and pulled my spine out of place (now that was a weird feeling) ...but but but they were definitely a temporary pain relief, but the point was to temporarily stop the reflex of tightened when there was pain...sounds like it might be a different deal with the bones themselves than w muscles

Bill R
02-22-2009, 06:31 PM
The most difficult part of all this for me has been training myself to realize I just can't do certain things anymore and have to modify others.

That has been the hardest thing for me to do- I am stubborn, bullheaded and refuse to accept my own mortality. SWMBO has been telling me for years this day will come. Now she is saying "I told you so".

Thanks all for your responses. I know the effects are temporary, but the hope is to keep me working for now. I am hoping lifestyle modifications, exercise/physical therapy, chiropractor and cortisone injections will keep me away from the surgeon's knife.

SMARTINSEN
02-22-2009, 06:40 PM
Have you tried traction?

I have the same bulging discs that you have. I never took a shot, but physical therapy and exercises worked for me. You have to commit to doing the exercises in the long run. Strengthening your abs will help, too.

Having said that, there is no reason to fear a drug-based solution if it will bring you relief. Maybe you could get a second opinion. You have seen an M.D. and a Chiropractor, what about the opinion of a Physical Therapist, your insurance would probably cover it.

I used to think that people that complained of back pain were malingerers--until it happened to me.

Good luck.

reddog
02-22-2009, 06:50 PM
Bill;Sounds like a good plan.You're young,I checked your profile,and surgery is best to avoid if possible.That being said the surgery worked wonders for me and gave me almost nine relatively pain free years.Alas,aparantly nothing is permanent and the pain returned with a vengence this past fall.Back on my feet now but it's been discouraging.Right now the core strengthing seems to be working best.Funny thing about all this is I used to work doing carpentry.That's how I initially injured the back.Eventually had to give that up for a more sedentry job involving a fair bit of desk work and driving.Turns out that sitting is really bad for backs too.Go figgure.
Stay positive Bill and use your head before the back.;)

Earl

Wooden Boat Fittings
02-22-2009, 06:54 PM
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I had two cortisone injections (over two weeks) in my right shoulder for tendonitis a couple of years ago.

I'd been seeing a very good physio who'd been giving me exercises, but the pain was so bad I couldn't do the exercises properly. The cortisone was only meant to be a temporary fix for the pain, but it bought me enough time to do the exercises properly for long enough that I could keep going with them after the effects of the cortisone had worn off.

And I didn't feel the injections (in that particular location -- yours might be a bit different) at all.

I think your wife might be right, Bill...
___________

Not all chirporactors are bad, by the way. My first experience of one, when I was about 12, was absolutely terrible (he nearly broke my neck,) and I swore off them forever. But I also have a lower back problem (damaged in 1975,) and in 1992 it became so inflamed I could hardly walk. A client recommended a chiropractor he knew, I said to myself, "Well, I've certainly got to see someone so I'll give him a try," and he had me walking properly again inside a month. Brilliant man (and trained in the US I might say.)

Mike

JBreeze
02-22-2009, 09:46 PM
Bill,

I wrote a long PM, and when I finally hit the send button, it said I wasn't logged in:mad:

Btm line? I went through agony for about 7 years and finally got someone tied into the boston medical community to send me to the "best" spine surgeon. A 13+ hour surgery ended late on a Friday night, and I walked out of the hospital Monday afternoon. (C4-T5 ant/post fusion with grafts and intrumentation). Best decision I ever made.

Send a PM if you want more details, the surgeons, etc. if you finally decide to go the surgical route.

htom
02-22-2009, 10:54 PM
I've got something wrong with my left (shoulder) rotator cuff; after a couple of months of this treatment and that treatment, none of which were very effective, I got one shot. Within a couple of minutes, the pain was completely gone, I had full motion restored. It was like a miracle. Lasted for (guessing) six months, before I had a twinge again, and that was almost six months ago. I should go see them again, as it's getting (very slowly) worse again. Not near as bad as it was, over a year ago.

pila
02-22-2009, 11:12 PM
I had some of those shot years ago. Had to crawl into the doc's office to get the first one, and in a few minutes I got up and walked out.
Whenever it recurs I get a Medrol pack, which is the pill version. The pack has 6 pills for the first day, five for the second etc and on down to one the last day. Sometimes the first two days works without the rest.
The problem with cortisone is that it doesn't go away I was told. It accumulates in the body.

I was told to let the back heal if possible, because the surgery may not improve it all that much, so that's what I did. Just can't shovel as much snow anymore.

Wooden Boat Fittings
02-23-2009, 12:02 AM
.
One of the chief problems with taking corticosteroids internally (either orally or by injection) is that they reduce the body's own ability to manufacture cortisol. The level of cortisol in the blood is monitored by the pituitary, and the amount then manufactured by the adrenal glands is adjusted to maintain a given level accordingly. (Whether this is the 'right' level for you or not is dependent on your pituitary -- which is not necessarily always correctly calibrated.)

If you're taking external cortisone for more than a few days you'll start manufacturing less cortisol of your own. This is because the pituitary initially thinks there's too much in your system, so it reduces the output from the adrenal glands. Therefore the overall desired level drops again (the one that you're aiming for by taking the supplement.) As a result your symptoms reappear, so you up the dose a bit more, on which the pituitary says, "Still too much cortisol" and reduces the body's production further. Thus you can find yourself in a vicious cycle of dependency, the end-point of which is that you're producing no cortisol of your own and you're totally reliant on external sources of cortisone -- ie you're hooked.

That's why, when taking cortisone orally, you normally take a 'slug' dose first, then taper off the amount over a period of days until you're back at zero within a week or so.
__________

Apart from generating a reliance on the drug, another of the bad effects of longer-term ingestion is the increase in the likelihood of developing osteoporosis (which is by no means limited to women, by the way.) So if you're on it long-term you should also be taking a calcium supplement.

Here you can only get corticosteroids on prescription, so if going to the medico to get one don't forget to ask about calcium supplements at the same time. (Regrettably, some medicos here still aren't aware of this connection, so don't be fobbed off with an, "Oh, you don't need calcium" without more explanation.)

There are other side-effects too, like thinning skin, higher blood pressure, etc. Cortisone can be very useful indeed, but it's not something you fool around with.... More on this here (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Hormones_cortisone?Open).

Mike

Bob Adams
02-23-2009, 10:24 AM
Have you tried traction?

I have the same bulging discs that you have. I never took a shot, but physical therapy and exercises worked for me. You have to commit to doing the exercises in the long run. Strengthening your abs will help, too.

Having said that, there is no reason to fear a drug-based solution if it will bring you relief. Maybe you could get a second opinion. You have seen an M.D. and a Chiropractor, what about the opinion of a Physical Therapist, your insurance would probably cover it.

I used to think that people that complained of back pain were malingerers--until it happened to me.

Good luck.

Definetly consider traction. I had 18 sessions over a month period 2 years ago. Lost some weight and with moderate exercise ( I started roller skating again), knock on wood, I've had only minor pain occasionally since.