Injection Question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 1/2/2012 10:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone, hope the new year is treating you well. I just recently had 3 injections done by my PM doctor, to 3 levels of my left facet joints. I had epidural injections before, at the site of some of my herniated disks. So far, neither injection has seemed to help at all.

Honestly, I feel sort of lame. Like I somehow am a failure because my injections haven't helped at all. I know how stupid that sounds! I know that they don't work for everyone, but I guess I don't really understand why that is. If my doctor definitely injected the correct area where I have a herniated disk, then how could it not help?

I get tired of going to my PM and telling him how the latest thing didn't help at all. I feel like I am doing something wrong or I'm stupid for telling them this. I also sort of feel that maybe they don't really get quite how bad I am feeling. This is a really life-blocking thing, and I just want to feel as comfortable as possible anymore. I'm not even worrying about if I can go back to school anymore, I just want to feel a little bit better...and instead I just keep going back to my doctor and saying how I feel exactly the same.

Anyone else willing to share their injection experiences with me, or any information on the process? How can an epidural injection not work even if its in the correct place? Is it something worth trying again after so many failures? Any input is appreciated. :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 1/3/2012 3:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had trigger point injections, but not epidurals even though one doctor I went to wanted to try them.

I'm sorry you're dealing with so much. I hope your PM doctor sees that you have been willing to try a lot to get your pain levels lower. Do you feel comfortable with your doctor?

Don't feel bad if you have to go to him/her and say that the treatment didn't work. Shots don't work for some people. At least you tried it. Please don't feel like a failure. Chronic pain is really difficult to deal with. Try to take it easy on yourself.

Maybe your doctors don't understand how bad you're feeling. Do they spend enough time listening to what you have to say. I find that it's really important to have a doctor who listens, and lets me talk.

Have you tried writing a pain journal, and bringing it in with you for your doctor to read? Also, sometimes it helps to bring someone (like a close family member who you trust) into your appointment with you to tell the doctor how tough things are in regard to your quality of life.

I wish I had more advice re the shots. Personally, if they didn't work after a series, I wouldn't try them again because of the risks involved. That's actually why I didn't get them when they were suggested to me years ago. My current doctor doesn't recommend them to me now though b/c of my age and the risks.


Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/3/2012 5:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Misterkatamiri
I have had quite a few different injections. I just recently got a 2 injections but won't be going for a third because not only did they not work but made my back feel worse. These were injections of cortisone. I had a fusion done around the area of L4 or5 S1 from what I remember. Worse thing I ever did was have that surgery, but that's another story. I won't feel bad about the injections not working because they certainly don't work for everyone. Anyway Hope you feel better and find something that does work. Take care.
Chronic Back Pain, Anxiety, A little Depression, Left foot problems...foot growing in length and big toe growing out sideways, Osteoporosis,11 surgeries total..right foot twice, right knee 3 times, right elbow, throat/neck, spinal fusion, left elbow, left knee, currently deciding on whether to have surgery on left foot.
Meds: Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Clonazapam
Birthday July 18th

Monty's Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 1/3/2012 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
I have had trigger point injections that help for a week or so, and then I had a nerve block that did absolutely nothing. I too felt like a failure, not just for the nerve block, but also for the trigger point injections only working for a short time when others had months of relief.

My doctor explained it best. Each body is different in its physical makeup, its tolerance, its chemical balance and response, and that is why they attempt any injection or medication that the patient is agreeable to that may help. This way they find the correct balance or single thing that provides that person relief. I too went through periods where everything we tried didn't work and felt that my doctor didn't understand how much the pain affected my life. So my hubby and I made a list of what I could no longer do and wanted to that included all my housework, work, school, etc. I gave that list to each of my doctors who were treating me for the various aspects of my illnesses. This way it was crystal clear that things were not working. Since then, I have tried many medications that failed to help or caused horrendous side effects. It took a long time, but we eventually found what works for me.

I try not to let it get me down when my trigger point injections don't work as long as I hoped they would, but I fail most of the time. You are not alone in having injections not help. Try to keep your chin up and keep fighting. Don't give up and stop looking for what brings you relief!

Praying for you,

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 1/3/2012 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much, everyone.

My doctor does talk and listen to me, I just get the impression he doesn't quite get how bad it is for me due to my age, maybe. He's a great doctor, I just think maybe chronic pain in young adults & teens is something that is even harder to understand than in adults and the elderly.

He did tell me that it doesn't help everyone, so we wouldn't know what happens until we tried it. It's so weird how something that specific can work for some people and not others, though.
--Patrick, aka Misterkatamari

I'm active on several boards. Main issues are: Chronic Pain due to Scoliosis & 2 Herniated Discs, possible DDD and arthritic facet joints. Also active in the Depression/Anxiety boards. Meds include: Prozac 40mg, Xanax .5 mg, Tramadol 50mg

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16776
   Posted 1/3/2012 12:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister I think what you are going through is normal. Unfortunately for us, any time a procedure is done or a surgery is done there is no guarantee it will work. That is just the gamble we take and something we will try in an effort to feel better. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get better or get relief. Some of us have even done some unconventional things in an effort to reduce our pain and feel better. Its pretty much the same way with our meds, there is just no guarantee for us with anything. Three of my PM drs refuse to do epidurals as they feel there is not enough evidence out there to prove they actually work. Yes, that is very unusual for something like that to come out of a PM drs mouth, but its a true story. These drs were MD's not anesthesiologist and I do believe those guys push the the epidurals more than the MD's will. The bottom line is don't kick yourself because something does not work, that is totally out of your control and the drs. All they can do is try different things until they hit upon something that does give relief. I know it gets very frustrating, been there and done that with many of my medical problems, but you just have to keep the hope there is something out there that will help you. I went through this period of thinking it was me both with CP and finding a medications to help control my crohns disease, I had both going at the same time. I was in and out of the hospital every time I turned around. It took a lot of time to get where I am today. I have good days and bad days but I just try to roll with the punches. One thing I learned was not to get my hopes built up real high especially when it came to medication on whether it would work or not, I went through so many disappointments.

I would recommend trigger point injections to anyone that has severe muscle spasms. They usually do not last long, but many times they will get the spasms down enough to where a muscle relaxant can do a decent job.

You have been given some info by the others and maybe you can try some of those things, especially when trying to connect with your dr.

Take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 1/3/2012 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had epidurals that worked and also some that didn't. My results were just as good and bad with my physiatrist MD as with 2 different anesthesiologists. It seems more a game of chance than any specific procedure, location, or training.

I have also had MRIs, CTs, Bone scans, x-rays, nerve conduction studies, and they didn't make any difference in procedures or results either.

For my sciatic nerve symptoms it seemed that a good block in the sacral area or right at the tip of the tailbone worked longest. For back pain sometimes epidurals worked well, sometimes no results.

If the pain seemed more in the muscles - lumbar, thoracic and neck - trigger point injections helped unless there was also a spine problem. For muscle spasms alone I get some relief from my TENS unit. I also like my large heating pad and my very small hot tub (fits in 5' x 5' area). I do a few exercises and stretches in the hot tub. Sometimes a back brace helps for a few days. Diazepam helps a lot, but pain doc won't let me take even 1 mg occasionally for fear I'll get hooked. Tramadol eases the pain of muscles or bones for me.

Exercises, with or without a physical therapist, is supposed to help, but you couldn't prove it by me.

My current problem, spasms in muscles plus something within the spine was brought on by lifting a toddler who was down a step, probably not carefully enough, I had something go pop and severe, sharp pain. Trigger point injections has not helped. Neither has TENS. Heating pad and resting plus back brace helps briefly, but not on driving an hour. Now, a month later, I'm having sudden brief episodes of numbness, like my legs just aren't there, nearly falling, while standing and twisting just a little to reach for things. I have an appointment with my pain doc tomorrow. I could wait, but the nurse thought I ought to get in right away. It's painful enough to take breakthrough meds.

Best wishes.

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 1/3/2012 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry that you are having issues.

I never had in jections but I just want you to know that i care about you. I am here for you when you want to talk.

Soft Hugs
crushed lower knee and vertical fx of tibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected leg continously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/ metal removed in July//then total knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take oxycontin,flexeril,cymbalta,vicadin for BT

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 373
   Posted 1/3/2012 10:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Mister katermari,
Welcome..and happy new year....I hope..
I just had my first injections and like you, I also feel as if I am a failure because they did not work..I also felt like I had a hang over for two days..weird, I know. I had cortisone, sarapin and some other things in the injection. I know when I had my hysterectomy they did an uperdural and only half of my body was numb..weird. I have a severe curve to my spine and think that may be the problem. I am just tired of taking pain medications all the time ..good luck to you, and let me know if anything helps k? Leslie
Crohns dx,Pelvic Floor Tension,Pelvic Adhesive dx,interstitial cystitis,ileostomy,chronic pain,arthritis,fibromyalgia,severe 42 degree scoliosis,degenerative disc dx,neurological impingement,pelvic tilt and complete loss of neck curve. 4th degree tear during childbirth with 13 reconstructive surgeries (including fistulas) resulting in chronic pelvic pain and an ileostomy. Bp and panic attacks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 1/4/2012 1:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mister,

I had an epidural injection done at C3-C4 if I recall last year. It didn't help at all.
The doctor's intention was to do one injection just above the levels where the pain was likely coming from and let gravity do its work.

A few months ago, I tried trigger point injections. There are a few specific locations that can feel like burning spears while other areas where the pain is more diffuse and related, at least in part, to muscle tightness.

The main location for a burning spear pain was dramatically helped by an injection. The doctor injected the same location a few weeks later as well. Now, about 2 months since my last injection, it is still much better.

However, the other injections didn't help. But at least one made a difference.

So, even if there is a core spinal source for the pain, different mechanisms get into play: nerves, muscles, etc.. Maybe some properly targeted trigger point injection can help with a few spots. They may not take away all the pain, or get at the root of the problem, but I'm still glad I had them done.

A few days ago, I was fixing a drawer, which required that I lean forward. It used to be the case that within minutes the burning spear would show itself and I would be in agony. But now, I could stay in that position with just discomfort, tightness and a bit of a gnawing feeling. That is, click the pain up to a 4 vs an 7.

Epidurals offer the dream of getting at the source and so taking away all the pain. Trigger points are more hit-and-miss partial solutions. But they can still offer some meaningful benefit. They haven't really changed my routine chronic pain, but they have stopped one core cause of major pain flairs.

If you do try trigger points, my guess is that they work best on the focused areas of pain. So where you have them, mark them (or have someone else do it if you can't reach) before you see your doctor when they are actually hurting. That way, the doctor can guide the injections more accurately.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray
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