Believe me, if you had arachnoiditis, you wouldn't even be able to be typing this, cause the pain would probably have you in the hospital. That is a vvery debilitating condition, and the pain is just horrendous! It's also incurable, and you could NOT even talk on 3 pills a day.
The reason you saw arachnoiditis is because ANYTIME they inject anything into the spinal canal, they run the risk of causing arachnoiditis. It doesn't happen often, but it CAN cause it.
When your doc did your epidural steroid injection, he didn't do it properly. For one thing, did he use fluroscopy? Did he use a "monitor" type thing where he could see exactly where the needle was going when he was doing it, or did he do it by "feel" only? If it was "feel" only, he put you in a lot of danger. Also, you should have been put in "lala land" so that you didn't have to feel the pain!!! It's just a local anesthesia, not a general -- and you're awakened as soon as it's over and you can actually drive home yourself after you've stayed for awhile to make sure you're okay.
NONE of the injections ever worked for me, and I'm including the steroids, trigger point, all of them. None worked. They were just useless. And they are just bandaid fixes anyway because if you get relief from them it's only temorary -- you might get relief from a week to a couple of months, and then the pain returns and you need to have another one. So to me, they're pretty useless except the doctors get anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 to do them!!!
Nothing in the MRI's can cause pain so you're safe there.
The only thing I can see is that your pain is caused by your disc protrusions & herniations plus you have some stenosis & foraminal narrowing. I'm sure you do have pain, but these doctors HATE to give us the proper dosing because they fear that we will get addicted!!! That's HOGWASH. Rarely does a REAL chronic painer get addicted to his/her pain medication as they take them for pain --they are NOT trying to get HIGH. They want comfort, not a buzz!! These doctors are afraid of the DEA. They're afraid that the DEA will come in and ask them why they prescribed a high dose to so and so for pain -- and the doctor will have to explain, etc. The DEA needs to keep it's nose out of medicine and let the doctor take care of his patients!!!
I don't know what to tell you to get him to prescribe a higher dose to you. I've had the same trouble, and I've just had to grin and bare it until I just couldn't stand it anymore, and I went in there crying because I couldn't walk anymore. But my spine is a WHOLE lot worse than yours!
Mine is degenerating terribly as I've had 3 open surgeries, and there's more herniations but no doctor will even touch me now.
Anyway, I finally got a tiny bit of a high dosage, but it didn't do much good.
I wish you the best of luck. God bless and take care. Hugs, Lee