This is a very frequent question. Quite often following an injection procedure, your pain may significantly improve or even completely disappear for a certain period of time. Unfortunately, the pain may come back, especially if it is chronic or there is significant underlying degenerative disease.
Yes, the pain did go way and come back. Most of the time for chronic conditions we are unable to actually fix the underlying problem. So therefore, the treatments are performed in effort to help control the pain and allow you to increase your activity to improve your quality of life. Sometimes an injection procedure may give you a few months’ worth of relief from symptoms. Sometimes just a few hours. Obviously, the injection that worked for a few months is a better long term treatment option than the one that lasted for only a few hours. Despite this, however, sometime injection procedures are performed for diagnostic purposes. The relief from these types of procedures is typically only a few hours, but the purpose of the procedure is to help your physician determine the source of your pain and figure out which treatment options will be best for you in the long term. So it is imperative to tell your physician on follow if you felt any relief, even for a few hours, following the procedure. Failure to do so may wind up actually hurting you in the long run by disqualifying you from a procedure or other treatment which may have the potential to provide you with longer lasting relief.
All treatments have a time limited benefit to them, not just injections. Massage therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic care, and medications rarely completely cure symptoms after one treatment. Medications are metabolized, hence they need to be taken at specific intervals. Likewise, the benefits from Massage therapy, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic care are typically short lived and treatments need to be repeated every few days or weeks. Most injections are the same way. Every treatment has an expected lifespan, and nothing will last forever; especially if your pain is chronic.
So, it is important for you to maintain the proper perspective when having a procedure, trying a new medication, or new treatment plan. Did it offer any benefit at all? How much? How long did the benefit last? Accurate answers to these questions will help your physician develop the best treatment plan possible.
- Foletti A, Pokorný J. Biophysical approach to low back pain: a pilot report. Electromagn Biol Med. 2015;34(2):156-9. PubMed PMID: 26098529