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corticosteroids for pain?
May 21, 2013

Hi Nelson, I was wondering if you can tell me if you think epidural administration of cortisone or alike may help my long term pain due to L4-L5 & L5-S1 nerve damage? Gym has been a huge part of my well-being (physically and mentally) and for the last two years it has been difficult due to constant pain. 6 mths ago I started complera after 12 years pos. due to new guidelines not immune decline. I read that there may be a contradiction with steroids and you know any info that could help me get back on track?thanks from are an inspiring gentleman.

Response from Mr. Vergel

This is definitely an issue you need to talk about with your primary care or pain management physician. All I can tell you is what I have gone through in my ordeal with degenerative lumbar and cervical vertebrae issues. I have had diskectomy of L4-L5, L5-L6 and L6- S1 areas and my C3-C6 disks are pretty much gone. I am not cured and they suggest I have fusion surgery of both my lumbar and cervical area, which I have been able to postpone for years with frequent stretching and intelligent exercise routines that strengthen my posture and prevent more damage. But this issue is constantly in my mind since I have to remain mindful of what I do. I have trust issues about these kind of procedures but at the same time I also do not want my old age with HIV to be plagued with pain.

I had a few epidural corticoid injections before my two first surgeries. Their effect will disappear after a week or two. I was terrified about suppressing my immune system but was happy to find out that there was no damaging effect to my CD4 cells and viral load. They gave me side effects like excessive hunger and insomnia.

I would highly recommend that you talk to your doctor so that he/she can hopefully refer you to a therapist. I have been to a few and most taught me the importance of stretching and self awareness during daily activities like sitting, bending, etc. Most stretches you can find in graphics like these: Stretching Exercises

Good luck and I hope this helps. I am still able to live with minimum pain and keep my strength and muscle mass but have to be super self aware of things that can potentially set me back easily. No one has done a review on the incidence of degenerative disk disease in aging HIV+ adults, but I would not be surprised in ours was higher than HIV negative controls matched for age and body mass index.

Let me know how it goes down under, mate.

Your buddy in health,


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