COVID-19 UPDATE: Regenexx is committed to the health and safety of our patients. You may now be seen in clinic or via telemedicine for virtual/online or phone visits.
Our physicians are available via telemedicine to continue to give you the care you need during this difficult time. Learn more.

Sciatica Epidural Recovery? When Epidurals Fail

By /

Sciatica Epidural Recovery

Low back pain due to a pinched nerve (sciatica) is a common problem that used to require surgery most of the time. A big medical advance of the 1980s was the use of epidural steroid injections to reduce pain and decrease the chance that a surgery would be needed. However, is there hope when low back pain continues despite a cortisone injection? DE is a 51 year old woman who can serve as good example of what happens when there is no sciatica epidural recovery.

DE was seen by Dr. Newton in our clinic in February of this year with a history of several years of low back pain due to falling off a horse in the spring of 2012. Her pain was located in the left low back and got worse with intense fitness activity such as jogging-but walking standing, or sitting for long periods would also exacerbate her symptoms.  She also had sciatic symptoms down her leg that started in November when she bent over and just twisted the wrong way.  She tried two epidural steroid injections in December (by another provider), which did knock down the leg pain, but she continued to have low back symptoms. When she was seen this year, her pain on a daily basis still ranged from a 1 to 2 all the way to a 7 to 8/10.

One of the things that Dr. Newton immediately recognized was that just pumping more steroids into a middle aged woman by repeating the epidural steroid injections wasn’t a good idea. In part, this was due to recent research showing that this causes significant bone loss for every steroid injection. In addition, rather than having tunnel vision and thinking the patient must only have a sciatica disc problem, he understood that the first place to look for issues in a patient who has fallen on her butt was the SI joint. These strong ligaments help to hold the SI joint and pelvis together and when lax and damaged, will often mimic a herniated disc and cause not only low back pain, but also leg symptoms.

Dr. Newton used the Regenexx-DDD procedure to place the patient’s own growth factors around the irritated spinal nerves and also injected the same growth factors into these damaged ligaments. The results? Here’s a report from the patient:

“Hi Dr. Newton:

Hope you and your family are doing well.  I wanted to give you a quick update.  Absolutely, no pain anywhere!!  I’ve been increasing my workout intensity.  Here is my latest accomplishment – 15 unassisted bar pull-ups, 20 hanging leg knee raises and 15 hanging straight leg raises.  I haven’t done any of these exercises in over 4 years or longer…

Can’t thank you enough for all you have done to greatly improve my back issues and obviously, quality of life!!

Take care,


The upshot? All too often, pain management doctors get tunnel vision and only focus on one problem, in essence going after the “bright shiny object” that shows up on the MRI but ignoring what makes sense from the history (i.e. in this case that the SI joint ligaments are frequently injured in a fall). We will continue to follow DE as she gets back to more of the high intensity exercise!

Get health and wellness information from a trusted source.

By submitting the form, you are agreeing that you read and consent to our Privacy Policy. We may also contact you via email, phone, and other electronic means to communicate information about our products and services. We do not sell, or share your information to third party vendors.

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet


Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar


Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog


9035 Wadsworth Pkwy #1000
Westminster, CO 80021


Copyright © Regenexx 2020. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.