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Old 11-19-2007, 09:01 AM
KlondikeGeoff KlondikeGeoff is offline
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Location: High Sonoran Desert
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Anybody have cortisone shots for sciatica?

I've had severe sciatic nerve pain for several weeks. My doc gave me some med that helped, but had to stop due to side effects. I've had lumbar disk problems for years, which caused some sciatic nerve pain in one leg, but always went away eventually. This time it is in both legs, and not a result of my back "going out." Have no idea what caused it.

My wife insists that cortisone is a miracle cure, but my family doc said it can work for tendons, joints and muscle, but probably not for nerve involvement.

Years ago I had a torn rotator cuff and twice got the shots. Not only were they extremely painful, but did not help anyway. From what I've read, they offer only temporary relief, but may reduce inflamation, in which case they can be effective.

Anybody had any relief from these shots for sciatica?
Old 11-19-2007, 05:50 PM
SlowMindThinking SlowMindThinking is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,640
Not sciatic nerve pain, but for a similar problem. My doc said it has ab out a 20% chance of working. It is worth the shot, since most other solutions are more expansive and invasive. I had two. It did not work for me. On the other hand, my problem probably isn't a disk problem, so we may not compare well.
Old 11-19-2007, 06:21 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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Location: Northeast Ohio
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My dad had the same experience as SlowMindThinking - went through a few rounds of shots before he decided they didn't work and ended up in surgery. For a disk, tho.

I think doctors just prefer to give it a try instead of cutting you open or putting you on long-term drugs. Seems like it's a "we'll see if it works" thing for everyone (my dad has since heard many stories about people's backs and whether or not the shots helped.)
Old 11-19-2007, 10:16 PM
This'll Do This'll Do is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Gulf Coast, USA
Posts: 341
I have ulnar nerve impingement. Discussed the shots with my docs as an option since I don't tolerate oral analgesics well but want to postpone surgery as long as I can. They said I might get relief, and it would be short-lived and for me to "think about it." My thinking: painful injection in my elbow, only temporary relief, and might not work at all-- Do Not Want.

What I have used, though, is the Lidoderm patch. It's an adhesive patch you apply on the skin over the painful area, which delivers the local anesthetic lidocaine transdermally. These things have given me immense relief. It's by prescription only, shockingly expensive, and well worth it. I have met two patients who say they've had a lot of success using the patches for disk pain, too. You could ask your physician if this would help in your case.

Last edited by WhatHappenedNext?; 11-19-2007 at 10:18 PM.
Old 11-19-2007, 10:43 PM
Arien Arien is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 648
My dad got them for sciatica and he said they worked, but he had been slowly recovering before then so I'm not sure how much could be attributed to the shots themselves.
Old 11-20-2007, 08:53 AM
Snowcarpet Snowcarpet is offline
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Location: Scenic Akron, Ohio
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I've had the shots (both hips) for pain related to bursitis in my hip joints, (so YMMV greatly), and I found that they really stopped the immediate pain and agony. Not so great in the long term, though (seemed like it only felt "great" for a few weeks, and "good" only for a few months.) But it was far better than weeks of agony!
Old 11-20-2007, 11:39 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 8,969
I had 3 such shots for a fully extruded L5S1 disk herneation impinging on my sciatic nerve root. The first shot gave relief in 5 minutes (from the anesthetic they include, not the cortisone) and over the course of the next couple weeks was still somewhat helpful. The second was less successful and the third even less so, and then I had surgery which was successful.

If you crush a nerve root, it typically gets inflamed and swells. The swelling compounds the situation. Meanwhile, the disk tissues gradually get reabsorbed and shrink, and according to some theories is also dissolved by compounds nerves secrete when they're inflamed. Cortisone can temporarily reverse the swelling, which may give you enough room for enough time that the disk shrinks, so that the inflammation stops and the swelling therefore doesn't return. Or so they say.


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