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I blame my diagnosis with T-2 diabetes, actually now a T-1.5 diabetic, on the fact that I had one too many epidural steroid injections for lumbar back pain, and cervical neck pain therapy. After I came down with diabetes, in 1995, my worker's comp attorney scheduled an appointment for me to been evaluated by Nachman Brautbar, MD. It was Dr. Brautbar who put together the Erin Brockovich case, and it was his professional opinion that my diabetes was a direct result of too many epidural steroid injections.

SEE: Erin Brockovich - Environmental Diseases Specialized Expert Witness Service

These epidurals, given three times a year, over several years, more than likely caused my pancreas to breakdown and stop working properly. It also affected my kidneys, and before I knew what hit me, I was a T-2 diabetic.

There is no trace of diabetes in my family tree, at least as far back as both my mom and dad could remember of their great grandparents and great uncles and aunts. After eight months of being poked, prodded, having blood test after blood test, CT scans, and sonograms, Dr. Brautbar strongly believed, that my diabetes was directly related to, and caused by the continued use of epidural injections and the cortisone injections to relieve the pain in my cervical and lumbar areas of the back, as well as the carpal tunnel regions of both wrists. Although I had emergency laminectomy and fusion surgery - L-2 through S-1 - in May 1991, this surgery did little to remove the constant pain from my 1986 slip-and-fall injury.

In an effort to relieve the pain I was in, following my surgery, I was offered more surgery, or, epidural and cortisone shots. I didn't believe that the surgery could help, because I came out of the 1991 surgery, nearly as bad as when I went in. The only thing that was alleviated with the 1991 surgery was the severe cramping that would knock me off my feet when I sneezed, coughed, moved or bent over to quickly, or, was simply bumped into by another person.

I knew there were side effects to epidural and cortisone shots (in the neck muscles and the carpal tunnel areas of both wrists), but, NEVER once did the doctors inform me I could end up with diabetes.

When Dr. Brautbar came up with this finding for the diabetes diagnosis, I was dumbfounded and stunned, and ever since that finding, I promised myself that I'd warn others of the potential dangers in getting those pain relieving epidural and cortisone treatments.

It's not that these treatments for pain are going to end up with a person getting diabetes, BUT, in my case, and, the professional opinion of Dr. Brautbar, it should cause a person to take pause when looking at this form of pain relief.

In moderation, I'm sure, these treatments will have no long lasting effects. BUT, when it is used for years, that the person needs to know that these steroids and cortisones could cause your pancreas to dysfunction, and diabetes could raise its "ugly little head!"

I hope this article helps to serve as notice to many, that if you don't receive the relief that these fine treatments usually give to people, surgery should be seriously considered as another option.

I will spend the remainder of my life second-guessing my decision to go with more than 4 years of epidural and cortisone treatments rather than additional surgery to end my pain and suffering. I never expected to have diabetes, and now that I do, I regret going for the less invasive approach to correct my back injuries.

This does not mean, in any way, that you should fear epidural or cortisone treatments. I just want you to look more closely at the possibilities of permanent side effects, like diabetes, and make a more knowledgeable decision. It is now more widely accepted by doctors that the over use of steroids and cortisone could result in diabetes. When my diagnosis and findings were presented to the workers comp board doctors and attorneys, it was laughed at. Not so any more. I recently told a friend of mine to ask his doctor about this danger when he was going in for his third epiderul in a year, and the doctor agreed that this was possible. He went ahead with the epiderul, and his back pain has not returned.

In my case it's too late, but, if you know someone who has these options facing them, tell them to get more info before making these treatments their long term pain treatment.


Pastor Paul
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