Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, July 06, 2009 pop guy, Community Member, asks

Q: Has the cortisone shots helped anyone with a herniated disc problem?

My husband is 49 and a lifer on the pop truck.  8 weeks of pain and anti-inflamitory meds, & physical theropy haven't helped. Now we are going for the shot tomorrow in his lower lumbar region.

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Answers (12)
hurting36, Community Member
7/ 7/09 6:19pm

I had 3, and everyone seemed to helped for about a day or 2, or until I picked up something heavy. Was working construction at the time, so no light-duty, soon as I picked up a sheet plywood, had to go home, havent worked since. Not to scare ya, it helps some, otherslike myself, it did not. I have pretty bad degeneration, so it could depend on the severity of the injury.

Sorry didnt help much!

badbackytoo, Community Member
7/ 9/09 4:10pm

it helped me for about 5 min

Briezy, Community Member
7/ 9/09 4:43pm

I found a doctor that does them with flourescope and I have relief for two months each time she has done it.  Before, I had attempts by another physician and it was a joke.  I am very pleased with the results.  I am a runner--unfortunately, I am going to stop running and return to power walking , swimming and biking.  I think I was kidding myself regard the running--I am 67 and only have one spine.

Reply, Community Member
7/ 9/09 5:03pm

I had injections into my Cervical area with flourescope guidance and after 3 injections I am usually good for 9 months to a year.   My Lumber discs are another story.  Same doctor, same procedure, relief for maybe 12 hours, than nothing.  My Lumbar disc that is the biggest problem is however, completely gone, so I am scheduled for surgery.  I am quite convinced that will end most of the constant pain.

Sticky Wicket, Community Member
9/28/09 3:18pm

Talk to your doctor about radio frequency for your lumbar spine.  I have had this done twice now by my pain doctor and it lasts for almost two years each time.  What it is a procedure where the nerve endings in the lumbar spine are cauterized using some type of radio frequency.  I have multiple herniated discs in my cervical and lumbar spine.  While the procedure cannot be used for the cervical spine, it has worked wonders for my lumbar spine.  It's definately worth talking to your doctor about!  Good luck!

ungermom, Community Member
7/ 9/09 5:06pm

I had back surgery last year after being injured while taking care of a gentleman that shook alot.  After the surgery I was in as much pain as before because of the swelling and I need very strong meds to help my pain.  I went back into the hospital and they called a pain specialist and he gave me a shot and I felt better not to long after that.  I had been in such pain that I could not lie down for any kind of xray, etc.  They had to put me out for everything.  I also was given morphine pills that I use very sparingly when I do just a little to much.  I had to retire due to not being able to stand for very long or sit for very long too.  Luckily I got dissability.  I too had degenerate disc problems, but never had this pain until injured.  After four shots I had gotten to where they helped about 75% and then was given Celebrex which has helped with much of the remainding pain.  I just can't do heavy lifting or be on my feet to long.  I used to be very active for my 63 years as I was raised on a farm.  I am just happy the pain is not as severe as it once was or I would not want to be here. 


So go for it and it might help you, some people it does and others not.  My sister it didn't, so you never know.

bobengel, Community Member
7/ 9/09 5:07pm

It sounds like your husband will be getting an epidural steriod shot that's typically done using a fluoroscope although some doctors are trained to perform this procedure without x-rays.  I had these shots for several years for chronic lower back pain prior to having an intrathecal morphine pump implanted.  Epidurals can be very effective in reducing chronic back pain for as long as several months.  Most doctors will limit repeating the procedure to no more than three or four times a year and its overall effectiveness will vary among individuals.

LAB RAT, Community Member
7/10/09 1:57am

you say that you have a Morphine pump.

Do you also take pain pills for break through pain?

If you would please let me know at



Schmidty, Community Member
7/ 9/09 5:20pm

It took 3 shots before the pain was gone.  The shots were given every 2 weeks for 6 weeks.  However, they only lasted 4-6 months and they are only allowed to give the shots to you in a set of 3  twice a year.  I have had 2 laminectomies when I was much younger and now have 3 more herniated discs in my lumbar back.  I would recommend trying the shots before trying surgery.

cricket, Community Member
7/ 9/09 6:45pm

I have had back surgery twice.  I had a neural block, which lasted about 3 months, and a series of "facet joint" injections.  The first time it lasted about 2 months. From then on they only lasted for a day or so, and the last one was a joke, no relief.  My primary doctor referred me to another Specialist. My latest MRI showed my facet joints are now deteriorated and now arthritic. The doctor said it could paralyze me if I had any more treatment. My advice is - find out what type of injections he needs. If it is "facet joint" injections, I would run away as fast as I could. 

caroline, Community Member
7/ 9/09 7:42pm

YES ! !  


I have been having the injections (various ways) for years.  Mine are administered by an anestheologist who allows certain ways of injections just so many times a year .  Stick to it if the first ones don't help.  It may take more than one trip and I was told to allow 3/5 days for maximum benefits.


I cannot imagine not being able to have them.  Hope all goes well !

7/ 9/09 8:44pm

Personally, the other person I believe the Cortisone injections help is the physician - as the line their pockets with your insurance companies money.  I have had multiples done, with and without fluoroscopy and have played the game that we start with PT, then injections, then such and such, then more of this and then finally we NOW believe that you MAY INDEED have a problem.  Most physicians tend to disbelieve patients with back pain BEFORE trusting them, and eventually you "gain" their trust after months of agony, treatments that don't work, etc - then they will believe you IF you go through their little game.  I guess they figure that if you are willing to do all of these agonizing treatments and therapy sessions, then after a few months or so - you are legit.  But, unfortunately - NONE of the approx 6-8 injections I had worked for even a day.  So sorry I can't provide you with better news.  If a nerve is entrapped , there is nothing that is going to relieve the pain unless you get the nerve "untrapped".


Sticky Wicket, Community Member
9/28/09 3:41pm

I agree with you 100%!  First, you have to get through the "This-patient-is -just-trying-to-get-pain-meds" phaze.  I have actually had a person who called themself a "pain doctor" remark to me that he "didn't understand this level of pain you're complaining about" when I had sitting in front of him an MRI film that showed that I had a rotator cuff that was torn SIXTY PERCENT!! When I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon I was told it required surgery! So, yes I agree that they are very suspicious of any complaint of pain and will order myriad tests just to make sure your pain complaint is legit!  My pain doctor is pressuring me to have injections for my herniated discs, which I'm not unwilling to do, but they don't explain to you any of the risks or dangers involved, just that I have to do this, and if I don't, I'll be labeled non-compliant and he may refuse to continue to treat my pain (i.e, prescibe my meds).  So they basically have me over a barrel and I don't seem to have much say in the matter, even though it's my money and my insurance that's paying this guy.  And, yes, I've been through the physical therapy and had injections before, and though they didn't seem to help much at all, I have to go through it again, and I'm wondering why?  Is it because he has no other answers?  Does he have a new boat that he has to pay for?  People say, "So switch doctors," but I really don't want to start this process all over again, and how do I know the new doctor will be any better than the old one?

gep, Community Member
7/10/09 2:46pm

I have a herniated cervical disc [diagnosed by MRI], causing some pain in shoulder area, but the worst was tingling all the way down my arm with numbness in my thumb and pointer finger.   My pain doctor gave me 2 cortisone epidural injections about 6 weeks apart and after the 2nd shot the symptoms were completely gone.  Now it is about a year later and it has not recurred.

jd, Community Member
12/31/10 8:42pm

So do the shots hurt when they give them to you?. What is the procedure like and how long. I have a herniated c7 t1 and shots are next for me.

tracie127, Community Member
7/11/09 9:51am

wheni first started the shots about 2 years ago, the first one was great, i was never so pleased with my outcome at that time, i have had several since then, im getting ready for my last shot in about a week, after awhile it seemed as though my condition got worse and the shots worked less, i might also add that the severity of my condition could be the reason why the shots arent working as long as they use to, im sure by the time you have read this reply your husband has already had his, my husband has the shots too, its the only way he can continue to work for the mean time, our shots are given approximately every 3 months, hope your husband had success with his, have a pain free day everyday.

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By pop guy, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/08/14, First Published: 07/06/09