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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Took cortisone injections due to degenerative discs. Pain in legs and arms. Side effect of injection?

Answered by
Dr. Ganesh Sanap


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 561 Questions

Posted on Sat, 9 Feb 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I have had two cortisone injections in my lower back within a two-week period performed by an orthopedic doctor due to degenerative discs. MRI shows bulging, herniation and degeneration involving L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1. Suddenly I have been having severe cramps in my legs. I can also feel my arms and hands cramping at times but not as severe. Can the cortisone injections be the cause?
Answered by Dr. Ganesh Sanap 4 hours later
sThanks for writing in.
I think you are mentioning about the epidural injection of cortisol. It will cause immediate effect.
The potential risks associated with inserting the needle include spinal headache from a dural puncture, bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, and nerve damage / paralysis (rare). Corticosteroid side effects may cause weight gain, water retention, flushing (hot flashes), mood swings or insomnia, and elevated blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Any numbness or mild muscle weakness usually resolves within 8 hours in the affected arm or leg (similar to the facial numbness experienced after dental work).
There is no delayed complication of this treatment. Pain or cramps may be due to vanishing effect of drug. Definitely, it is not a complication of therapy. You need to consult your orthopaedician for your complaint. You may need different management like micro discetomy, depending on clinical examination.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have further concerns, please let me know.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli

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