FYI on spinal injections of steroids and problems from them

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cured4real?
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1944
   Posted 6/16/2010 11:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi--
This is in case someone with autoimmune disease might consider getting spinal injections of predisone in the nerves for nerve pain. I had them done, it was a horribly painful experience. It cost me 200 a piece for two sets (400) not counting monies for followups. Neuro and pain centers like to do these injections because it is one of the few things medicare pays really well for. They seemed to work for me but a pill taper worked as well, I simply tolerate pain better when I'm not flaring and flare when I'm in pain. 
 
I got an infection in my spine because the dose of methylprednisone they inject is really strong and along with my plaquenil, my immune system couldn't fight any contaminant that might have got in during the injections. I was really weak and got sinus and respiratory infections as well as uti, my gi was amess, my whole immune system just broke down.
 
The infection is called diskitis and its a much more common consequence of the injections than is explained to the patient, if it is explained at all. Because the infection causes back pain, it is easy to think that it is simply your back pain returning.  The pain is really bad and the infection is potentially fatal and can linger undetected.
 
So if you are on immunosuppressants, you may want to really think about and talk with your family doc about risks if you are considering these injections, or being told you have to have them before you can get back surgery approved, which is not true. Just be careful because I didn't think a big dose of pred would mess me up, I've had them before, but they are breaching a place in your body not designed to be breached, and the spinal nerves lack good mechanisms to fight infection when it is introduced. since they are not meant to be punctured.
 
I hope this helps prevent someone from going through what I am going through.  And if you got them and have much worse pain, you might check with your doc to get mris of the area occasionally to make sure that it hasn't become inflamed. The treatment is a month of IV antibiotics daily, which means driving in to be hooked up daily for most people, and the cost associated with that, so its a bummer.
Love, Marji
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus cond., AI polygland. dysfunction 2, hyper/hypopigment, scoliosis,kyphosis,stenosis, deg.,O.A.,spine surgeries, salivary/lymphectomies, NASH, COPD, RLS, UT/GI bleeds, hystero, brain/nerve damage,TB
Meds--INH,Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, HRT and Lidocaine patchs, Voltaren gel, Klonopin, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol, steroids


Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7019
   Posted 6/17/2010 8:32 AM (GMT -7)   
That sounds horrid, Marji, I hope you recovery soon. Thanks for the warning.

Be well,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde


redrose77
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 2573
   Posted 6/17/2010 9:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I had 2 of these done. 1st one made things worse because they did it wrong (wrong spot) 2nd one was horrid because they had so much trouble getting into the right space because my spine is so deep but it did help. I personally think back surgery is a crock the way they currently do it my grandpa had 6 surgeries on his back and still was in horrible pain from his back when he died.
Dx:fibromyalgia 2002, systematic lupus 2005- definate CNS involvement dxed late 2005, psoriasis 2006, rheumatoid arthritis 2006, PTSD 2007, multiple allergies 2005, migraine, compression fractures T11 & T12, Sj√∂gren's, damaged periphrial nerves 2007, exema
Tx: plaquenil, Enbrel, Tramadol, Singulair, Skelaxin, Baby Asprin, Imuran, Prilosec, lasix, Evoxac, Celebrex, Darvocet when things get too bad, prednisone again, various vitamin/mineral supplements, cozar
"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T. E. Lawrence


nasalady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1176
   Posted 6/18/2010 11:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for posting this....any info is helpful. My rheumy wants to give me injections in my spine but because of my Lyme disease my Lyme doc says not right now. I will keep all of this in mind when the subject comes up in the future!
Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, AIH, Hashimoto's, lupus, fibro, RA, celiac disease, asthma, psoriasis, Raynaud's, hypertension, osteopenia, sleep apnea, RLS, GERD, DDD, L3-4 and L4-5 radiculopathy -> severe lower back pain, cubital tunnel, tarsal tunnel, Doxycycline, Zithromax, Prednisone, Imuran, Plaquenil, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Levothyroxine, Atenolol, Cozaar, Zyrtec, Fosamax, Albuterol, Prilosec, CPAP

autoimmunediseasesgfliving.blogspot.com


cured4real?
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1944
   Posted 6/18/2010 10:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Nasalady,
You are totally right to be very reluctant to rush into these injections. I have to face that my latent TB might havebecome active in my spine, or that Ihad undetected lyme disease. They really make you really weak esp if youreon imuran and other stuff. And there isno real proof that they work. They do cause surrounding tissue to become less inlamed and steroids seem to help with most kinds of pain. But I was much more sore when they wore off than Iwas before. I can't find any good reason to recommend them, they are extremely painful, I mean bad, and its just not worth it. My first neurosurgeon wouldn't even do them because I have a history of infectious disease. They're not supposed to give you steroids if you have an infectious disease unless you really got to have them. The pill tapers work as well. Small surgeries to release pinched nerves have worked well for my family members and friends. Big surgeries like redrose speaks of and my mom is going through are not so hot. My mom has UC/MCTD pending lupus dx, and due to low platelets ended up having to have a blood transfusion. My sis is a nurse and she's ofthe opinion that these invasive procedures shouldbe a last resort if pain meds and other noninvasive tx don't work. Physical therapy helped me alot. When I get better, I'd like to go agian.
Sorry to hear about the lymes on top of everything else.
Love, Marji
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus cond., AI polygland. dysfunction 2, hyper/hypopigment, scoliosis,kyphosis,stenosis, deg.,O.A.,spine surgeries, salivary/lymphectomies, NASH, COPD, RLS, UT/GI bleeds, hystero, brain/nerve damage,TB
Meds--INH,Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, HRT and Lidocaine patchs, Voltaren gel, Klonopin, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol, steroids


Gagee
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/16/2010 3:47 PM (GMT -7)   
How long after the injection did you get the infection? I had the last of three about a month ago. If I were going to get an infection, would it have shown up by now?

Gagee
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/16/2010 3:49 PM (GMT -7)   
sorry, forgot to ask, is that the same as a nerve block where an anesthesiologist (sp)does it?
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