Spinal Epidural for back pain

Hi It's me again!

I have chronic back pain and have been offered injections in my back for this.. I haven't got all the details yet but assume it's an epidural..? I am in two minds about this as it seems really invasive, is only a short term solution and can have many side effects?

If anyone has experience of these injections could you tell me more about the pros and cons and any other advice.


14 Replies

  • Hi Rocky, this would be referring to an epidural steroid injection for longer term relief for chronic back and sciatic pain - as opposed to the epidural pain relief given during child birth.

    The steroid injection needle is placed into the epidural space located between your backs vertebrae and the dura (which houses your spinal cord amongst other things). I am not a health professional and have not had these myself; I have had facet joint injections which are in a similar area and done with the help of digital x-ray to help with guidance, so maybe this is similar. Any steroid injections have the potential to help reduce pain and side effects but I do not know figures or risks I'm afraid for epidural injections - best to ask the experts.

    I hope you ask as many questions as you can and make the best decision; as for me, I'm about to get another course of facet joint injections.... Hopefuly these will be better this time :)

    Take care.

  • Hi Stampede, I am on the list for facet jnt injections, have they helped you? Another consultant recommended me for surgery but my pain consultant whants me to have the injections?

  • Hi albee, for me the last course wasnt successful but was prior to my disc decompression surgery and the up coming course will be the first since then. Hopefuly I will see good results.

    I would recommend trying injections firstly, as surgery obviously has higher risks associated; however, I suppose it is down to your choice - I know that when in agonising pain it can be tempting to try anything at all to just stop pain. Stop, think and ask questions.....

    I have met many people that have benefitted from injections that have meant surgery was not necessary. And although very sore when they get to the site of the pain (ouch), I would say its best to try the needle before the knife.

    Take care, I hope you make a sound decision that gets you relief.

  • Many thanks Stampede I'll let you know how I get on, Good luck with your's hope it works this time.

    all the best

  • Hi here, I have had chronic back pain after 45yrs riding and working with horses. Have a brilliant consultant and have been having these caudal epidural injections since 2006, they are brilliant, grab them with both hands. They are painless, you are at hospital for less than an hour and you just need to arrange a life home as they don't like you driving this straight after. The procedure itself is completely painless, there are risks with everything in life but these have saved me from having spinal operation for 7yrs now. I have 3 of these a year and the alleviation of pain lasts between 8&10 weeks and then just slowly the pain creeps up again, GP writes to consultant, consultant sends appointment and off we go again.

    Immediately after the injection you can go back to normal life with hopefully, much reduced pain, do please consider them, they may bring you relief from your pain

    If I can answer any more questions please do let me know

  • Hi Rocky. What exactly is causing your spine pain? Have you had any other treatments prior?

  • Hi, Following a Spinal fusion in 98 I have had numerous treatments including facet joint injections on approx 15 occassions. Generally it is not a single injection but anything from 1-6 which are excrutiating (in my instance anyway) this could be caused by the metal work being obstructive? Pain relief varies considerably. I have had some that lasted 6 weeks, others only 6 days. All I can suggest is for you to undergo at least 1 attempt and see how it goes as the risks involved are minimal compared to alternative treatments.

  • Calceolaria, No one has actually told me why I have the pain! The spinal scans showed about four bulging disks in my lower spine but all i've been told is that I have wear and tear! I've been in agony for almost a year..It affects my walking and standing, sitting, everything! . I've tried physio, acupuncture, reflexology, tablets, tens and nothing has helped... I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing..

    My other worry is that because the effect of the injection will be temporary, it's not getting to the cause of the pain. If I have the injection and it helps for a few weeks and then the pain gets bad soon after then I may feel worse when the pain returns. Also I would not want these injections on a regular basis so not sure it's worth starting in the first place..

  • Hi Rocky, I've had most types of spinal injections so you need to find out which type you are having. Some I've found are useless ( random muscular ones with botox to alleviate spasms), facet ( one set relieved pain temporarily and another set stirred up my joints and laid me low for weeks). Caudal ones at the base of the spine got me moving again and relieved pain temporarily but the best by far was the inter foraminal on both sides straight onto nerve root. Hideous to have but really worth it as pain relieving for months and follow up injections add on building up to less and less pain. Apparently the nervous system adapts negatively to chronic pain and the nerve endings change on a cellular level so they get stuck firing non stop messages. So the earlier these messages are blocked the better. I'd def go for injections that are for nerve desensitisation purposes. Best wishes

  • Thanks everyone for your comments! I will certainly have to think through what I do. I am quite scared as my pain threshold seems to be zero!

    I'll keep you posted!

  • hi rocky 1 how did it all go i notice you not updated i too have had three lots of injections now the latter being the epidural one which i didnt find half as painful as the facet joint ones i have very hypersensitive areas in my lower back and find physio and hands on treatment very painful. cant really say how these injections have done as only had them this monday so still sore

  • Hi Prim50, I didn't have the injection in the end, was too scared!In the end had Lidocane but that didn't help.. Still in constant pain, but since none of the medication has helped at all, dont want to put myself through a spinal injection, in the hope of some slight pain relief

  • I have had steroid injections injected into my spine, epidurals numb your legs and your cannot walk so don't really think it could be those. Everyones experience is different and I have severe back problems so they did not help me. But I have known people who have had these and they really have helped them. They are short term but by that they can be a couple of months. I would recommend giving them a try, the numb the area first with an anaesthetic injection and then put the injection into the area beween the discs, I think anyway but I am certainly no expert.


  • I've had 4 of the steroid epidurals. Watch what type of doctor gives them to you because that can make a big difference. The first 2 I had was amazing seemed to last for years compared to the agonizing back and leg pain due to 3 slipped disks. Those were done by an anesthesiologist. Another was a higher up pain management and rehabilitation doc.. His was well done but relief wasn't long. Last one did nothing. He was just a plain everyday pain specialist. Read up on your physicians first. Good Luck. Many benefit very well from them. Beware, if the doctor or surgical person doesn't give you any pain meds before hand, they could be pretty painful but I handled the first two with nothing and I considered them horrible. The procedure wasn't long and was well worth it.

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