Yuck!: Results of epidural corticosteroid injections

Have Currently just finished taking two doses, two weeks apart of epidural corticosteroid injections for spinal stenosis. Had them 9 years ago in my neck and they worked , high blood glucoses for about three-four days, and then I was ok. and never had the pain again.
However, this time was NOT the case. Pain and tingling are worse, I am sometimes incontinent,have swollen feet and ankles, leg cramps and my blood sugars have been incredibly high for about two weeks. I, get this, injected/bolussed a total of 117 units in one day, yesterday; because I knew I was going out to dinner and as low carb as I could try to be at a restaurant there are always "hidden carb"s. That would have been enough insulin , in one day, to KILL ME just two weeks ago.

I have to give myself Massive correction bolusses of 20-25 units through the pump supplemented by the syringe and then I am constantly checking the CGMs. I am so insulin resistant that even with a basal rate of 2.25 units per hour, which is three times my usual daytime rate of .75 an hour, I can rise to over 170-180 as a fasting blood glucose without eating anything,if I am sitting watching tv for an hour, or on the internet. I can spike to over 300 after almost every meal, with wha I thik are super adequate bollusses.I have gone to eating nothing but meat and veggies, no starches/carbs at all. Today I just ate nothing except a table spoon of pimento cheese for breakfast, a cup of decaf for lunch, and a spoonful of peanut butter ( 5gms carb)( which I bolussed 4.5 units for). Had normal sugrs all day but am spiking now at 179. Until I can find a way to control my blood sugars, I plan to eat as little as possible.. Maybe even fasting with just water . green tea, my viatmin supolements,and sugar-free crystal Light. iam trying to get my sugars down to "acceptable for now ranges" all day ( say a pre meal bs less than 150 and a post prandial less than 220).
I can only get normal ranges like before, if I do not eat at all.I have to stop the "rage bolusses" though. I got down to a 45 yesterday . Fortunatey for me , I have a CGMS and am NOT hypo unaware. I slip slowly into the gnarly dragon's mouth of low blood sugar and am generally always able to treat anything at 40 or over on my own:I am so hyperglycemic and insulin resistant now, that I just do not think I will slip slide away into unconsciousness from a low. But I cannot be foolhardy. I guess I now have symptoms of "double diabetes". GRRR....

Needless to say, I will NOT be taking anymore corticosteroid injections ANY time soon.

A bit Grumpy and a lot hungry, but this too, shall pass.

God bless,


Thanks mark. So good to hear from U. tonight I will watch some college football and eat a boiled egg and spinach salad. such fun!!! (LOL)

God Bless,


Wow, the amount of insulin you are taking is unreal.

Wishing normal life returns for you soon!

Oh, I am so sorry to hear this, Brunetta. You are one of my favorite people on here, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard you be anything less than super positive. With good reason, though! It seems so unfair to be dealing with those crazy blood sugars when the treatment didn’t even do what it was meant to! You said, at the end of your post, what I was thinking, please be careful. You sound like you are using every precaution, but that would be the danger, that the “effect” will dissipate all of a sudden and one of those huge boluses/corrections will crash you to the floor. Don’t starve yourself, because your body needs the nutrition to cope with what is occuring. So eat your protein and vegies and enjoy your football game. This too shall pass!

Welcome to steroids! They always kill my blood sugars when I have to take them! I get happy when I can get my numbers below 300 when I’m taking them… Keep your chin up! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the Welcome to 300+ land !!!Ho ow long were your blood sugars that High, Emily? My last injection was on October 14 and I am still much higher than normal. Thanks Zoe, for your support as well… You are a sweetie. and always a positive source for me, too. Don, I am grateful for your kindness . More cottage cheese, as I am still hungry., but maybe not…got to watch the sodium content because I am retaining water( elephant like legs and ankles) and the diuretic makes my poor bladder like a water tank about to explode…not a good pre- bed.snack if I want to get any rest tonight… but I will figure out something…

God Bless,


I usually do oral steroids when the bronchitis/asthma gets really bad. We do 3 days and then stop cold turkey (it’s just short enough that I don’t have to do a tapered dose). It usually takes me about another 24-48hrs to get them back to normal (and then I start crashing like a rocket!). When the steroids leave your system, you start dropping like a rocket with how high you crank up the basal rate… Be careful with how much you up it… my endo warned me that sometimes you can overdo it and that sends your blood sugars even higher. Just an FYI, I usually use between 45 and 60 units… on steriods, I frequently break the 150-200 mark.

Thanks Emily. I had an epidural caudal injection in my tailbone…Maybe therewas so much of the corticosteroid ,it will take more than a week (s)to go away? I did not have such a bad reaction when I had the shots in my neck for shoulder pain years ago, and neither did I have the swelling…, Maybe I got a whole lot of the drug, more than when taken in pill form… and You had to triple your insulin dosages as well. I have gone through almost two 1/2 bottles of insulin in 17 days…unheard of for me … I guess this is a learning experience. will be so glad when this insulin resistance goes away…,and it will

God Bless,


Yes, you had a whole lot more than I usually take.

It should be based on the half-life of the drug. I’ll do some reading and see what I can find out. While not a medical professional, I have been told that I have an instinct for reading the literature :wink:

Thinking of you Sweetie…you are a very remarkable woman. Wishing you better BS’s and some FOOD!! Love ya

guess I overdid on the overnight basal.

Those morning wake-up 300’s were scaring me, but todays’s 32 at 5:30 a.m. is nothing to mess around with. Fortunately, I had my warning of nightime lows: very vivid dreams,:had one dream about a close girlfriend who wanted me to get online , while she slept,and invite her entire family to my house, which is very cluttered now, for HER family reunion: and another that featured my former high school marching band comrades( we were better than the “Drum Line” crew )along with the entire female cast of Tyler Perry’s “Why did I get married? -2” all sitting IN my dining room, arguing… Yes Janet Jackson was there, but Not Madea… I knew to get up and check then…Those ladies were not acting like they would help me with a low ( LOL); and the drumbeats were way Too loud for anyone to hear me…so I got up, checked and treated.

I have returned to my next lowest basal, pattern A. And I think I am , slowly,on the way back to normalcy( at least where blood sugars are concerned-LOL)…will try a 1/4 cup ( 9gm)of oatmeal with almond milk(2gm) for breakfast this morning. Thanks all for your help and concern.

God Bless,


Emily,You are swift and smart. I thought half-lives had to do only with elements on the periodic table…So much for what I can remember from High school…I have not found anything on the internet about the duration of the hyperglycemia side effect., Thanks for your efforts to help so much.

God Bless,

Thanks. It actually is based on the lovely half-lives we learned about in basic chemistry :slight_smile: From what I can see, you are supposed to be followed up about 14days after the injection, so I think that the drug probably lasts in your system for about that long :frowning: I can’t find the “drug sheet” for the epidural…

As an FYI, I’m finishing the prereqs for PA school right now while teaching full-time :wink: It is enough to keep me on my toes :slight_smile:

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Effects seem to to go about half down in one week, they drop some more at two weeks, and at one month I have repeatedly resumed usual basal.

My boluses for meals, however, continued high for two months (again this happened repeatedly after steroid injections), and I needed to use a 1:3 ratio instead of 1:10, so 3 x normal…

I was able to talk someone into giving me a half a dose, which continued affecting my BG with the same pattern of dropping at one & two weeks & at one month, with far less spike. That’s what I’ll do next time I need it. I don’t think I can talk anyone into giving me a quarter dose, but that’s what I’d like, & maybe with my expressing that dire wish as an order that I won’t sing his praises unless we negotiate, we’ll come to something between the half and quarter dose. They’re really regional nerve blocks but in reality they affect the whole body. Doctors definitely don’t appreciate that. I try to teach them whenever I have something like that, and I think we all must.
Best wishes on getting everything back to normal.

Thanks Leo and emily…, It so good to have really smart people in my corner… Leo, I have been able to drop the basals from that absurdly high level, for me, of 2.5 units an hour; to 1.5 units/hour… But I am at 1;5 for carb ratios and 1;10 for corrections ( sensitivity). This is down form my normal 1:12 and 1:26. It seems that even if I eat pure protein, I go up . However, No spikes today that have reached 200. A major -league miracle!!! But then I have had very limited carb ( 11 grams) and just protein for a mid-morning snack ( cheese stick, and a medium link of chicken sausage.

these corticosteroids really are a system wide doozy…My feet and ankles, after a breif recession overnight, swelled up again after I had been standing/walking at church today ( My church is Mega -large). Guess I will have to do the diurectic tablets ( HCT) in full force.

God bless,


Wow! I find out tomorrow if they are going to use injectable steroids with the neupogen to bring my blood counts up. I have never had steroids before. Not looking forward to that possibility after reading about your ordeal. I hope you feel better!

Sorry you are having so much trouble as a result of an injection. I had one last thursday and have the oposite problem. I run a temp basal of about 50% most of the time. to try and avoid the lows and I am still usually under 60. Hope you get better soon.

thanks Candy berry and Michele.for your well wishes. My blood glucoses are returning to normal, on less insulin, and I am gradually lowering the basal.I still need more for bollusses and correction factores I Had an appt with the Pain management specilaist, he says he has nothing else to offer from HIS practice, but could send me to a spinal sugeon… or a referral to a rheumatoloogist who specilaizes in fibromalgia. or to see an acumpuncturist… I may take him up on the acupuncture, had it when I feel down the basement strps and had a rib contusion…It did alleviate the pain some what…Not feeling bad today, I happily repeat: sugars have been normal.!!! I do feel fat and puffy from the ater wieght gain due to the steroids (7 pounds in two weeks!!), and at the end of the day my poor feet, ankles, and toes look like Ms. Piggy’s(edema) The docotor said that it would go away eventally, in another two to three weeks…They go down at n ight while I ma sleeping, and then get puffy again by the end of thr day on my feet. I guess I will have to take the full dosafe of the diuretic( been on it for years for high blood pressure); 25 mg, instead of cutting it in half…Any body else had the pig feet syndrome?

God Bless,


Yeah!!! I’m glad to hear this!!!

I’m impressed that you kept it to only 7lbs of weight gain! I gained over 60lbs in 3wks in college…

“Double Diabetes”? Is this where you have symptoms of both Type 1 and 2? I’m not overweight myself (actually ideal weight), but I struggle with insulin resistance (it gets worse with hormone cycles). I’ve always wondered if someone could be both.