Epidural Cortisone Injection Fun

Let me just make it clear from the outset – an epidural cortisone injection is NOT fun.

An epidural is essentially a very large injection where some doctor inserts a ridiculously large needle directly into your back.  He or she then laughs maniacally and then charges you a large sum of money.


There are many situations when this is allegedly a good idea.

The most prevalent use of epidurals is for women who are in the advanced stages of labour and are in the process of giving birth.  By administering various drugs directly into the lower spinal column of a woman who is giving birth, this effectively stops the pain and allows her to get on with it.

Similarly for people with back injuries – a large hypodermic syringe filled with drugs is shoved into the trouble spot.  This allows said drugs to be delivered to exactly the right area, which in turn helps to lessen the pain, reduce the injury and helps the body to get on with healing itself.

In the case of ongoing and painful lower back disc protrusions, an epidural cortisone injection is accurately delivered into the protrusion itself with the help of various xrays, scans and internal picture taking systems.

Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory drug – it stops the swelling and inflammation.  In the case of cortisone epidurals this means that the cortisone drug is delivered to exactly the correct location, allowing the drugs to have the greatest effect.

I had one about 6 months ago.  It certainly helped, but the cortisone wore off and now it has been decided that I should have another one.  So, off I went to the surgery.

If you stop and think about it, it’s actually all rather nasty.

A jack hammer is cunningly disguised as knitting needle.  The suffering human is made to lie down on their stomach and told in no uncertain terms not to move – at all – as this may “cause complications”….. This knitting needle is then shoved deliberately and violently into the spinal column of the victim.

In this case, the victim is me.

Various scans are taken to find the exact location of the injury – in my case it is a lower back disc protrusion.  This is a bulge, a lump, a protrusion of the disc in between the two vertebrae (back bones) immediately above and below it.

The disc itself is supposed to be a nice donut shape.  It acts as a cushion between the two vertebrae bones. In some cases, this disc can be squashed and it then bulges and protrudes out of shape.

Painfully so.

Sometimes rest and careful exercise can allow the disc to heal and go back into its correct shape.

Other times it needs a little help with the aid of modern medicine.  And drugs.

While I was lying face down on the table, the nurse politely warned me that she was going to lower my trousers “just a little” and raise my shirt.  She then yanked down my dacks and ripped up my shirt – a precursor to the violence that was to come.

The people behind me (a doctor, a nurse and some other people all copping an eyeful of my butt cheeks) then proceeded to take scans and xrays.  They then drew a little dot of permanent pen on my lower back. X marks the spot, apparently.

Then someone muttered those immortal medical words….”this may be a little uncomfortable”.

@#$%^ !!!!!

This initial injection is actually only the anaesthetic.  It’s a rather sickening feeling.  It’s painful and just plain wrong.

However, after a few minutes, the pain and the wrongness went away and we were now ready for the main event.

The jackhammer / knitting needle was then brought out and slowly inserted into the skin, into the disc and into my spinal column.  One false move and I’m never walking again.

Sneezing at this point is not an option.

While the official epidural cortisone injection did not hurt in the traditional sense, it was a sickening and nauseating feeling.  They left it in there for literally a few minutes – delivering a squirt of the good stuff, waiting, then delivering another squirt, then waiting again, then one more squirt.

Unpleasant to say the least.

They then carried me out into the recovery room.  My legs had gone numb, my stomach ached, my lower back felt strange.

So they gave me a cup of tea and a biscuit.

After an hour or so, I was allowed to stand up and go home – on the proviso that I lay on the floor for several hours.

My father came to pick me up and take me home, which was nice of him.

Once established on the floor I lay there for the prescribed several hours, not feeling good.

Nauseous, sore and unhappy come close to describing the feeling.

However, after taking many pain killer tablets and waiting for 24 hours, I started to feel better.

And the bonus is that it turns out I’m not pregnant.



P.S. Have you had an epidural cortisone injection ?  Or a regular cortisone injection ?  What was yours for ?

Please let me know in the comments below.