Facet Joint Injections - Anyone had success?

Posted by shellsk24 @shellsk24, Jun 20, 2016

I have just began a series of facet joint injections for chronic lower back pain, due to arthritis and degenerative spine disease. The injections start off small then they add more medication as we continue. I had the first injection 3 days ago. I was told it could take upto 5 days to start feeling the benefits of the injection. The injections (total 6 in L2-L6) hurt like heck, and I have not felt any change in my chronic pain as of yet which is quite depressing. I was so hopeful. I am told the first injection is with just a small amount of anti-inflammatory med, so it may or may not be sufficient. Has anyone else had these? If so what was your experience with the entire process? I’m just wondering if I should proceed.

Liked by dandl48

Hi: Give the injections a chance, and if it is not working in a time period you and your doctor feel is reasonable, perhaps you can try a pain patch or
Opioid medication. I am on both a pain patch and opioid medication. I am getting great relief for my spinal conditions. Working for me for years and I
am pleased with the results. I require more rest/sleep due to the medication.

@sandytoes14

Hello, I have had facet injections and medial branch blocks done on C 4-7 without any success. I did have cervical (spine) epidurals for over a 4 year period that worked well. The pain in my neck was greatly reduced. In my lumbar spine, I had RFA, radio frequency ablation done and that was very successful.

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Hi @sandytoes14
Thanks for the information. I am due to have the RFA in a few weeks. I’m hoping I get some kind of relief. It is mind blowing that nothing is seeming to help. Fingers crossed!

For those that are on the patch and the pill, are you still able to work and function with other daily activities, or does it take away all of your energy? I am currently on opoid medication, but am considering inquiring with my doctor about the patch. Just wondering if I am able to work full time, otherwise I won’t bother. @deefl

@shellsk24 I had no problems functioning on the patch and if I had to take a breakthrough pain pill. I actually had a better quality of life as I was able to get around much better without the level 9-10 pain. With the Fentanyl patch, it was on for 72 hours before switching to a new one. The release was not sudden as in pills. Best of luck and keep us posted!

Liked by shellsk24

@shellsk24

For those that are on the patch and the pill, are you still able to work and function with other daily activities, or does it take away all of your energy? I am currently on opoid medication, but am considering inquiring with my doctor about the patch. Just wondering if I am able to work full time, otherwise I won’t bother. @deefl

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shellsk24, I use a pain patch which I like much better than any pill. It works better giving even distribution of medication and it is out of sight, there is no taking pills in the middle of the work day. It just depends on what you want and working with your doctor. 19lin

@sandytoes14

Hello, I have had facet injections and medial branch blocks done on C 4-7 without any success. I did have cervical (spine) epidurals for over a 4 year period that worked well. The pain in my neck was greatly reduced. In my lumbar spine, I had RFA, radio frequency ablation done and that was very successful.

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RFA was a hit for me too. Injections never seemed to work well for me.

@shellsk24

Had my second round of facet injections last week. It’s been 5 days and still no relief. I guess its safe to say I was not a good candidate for the injections. Continuing with the injections after 2 rounds with no relief seems pointless, not to mention costly. Glad to know it worked for others though. 🙂

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There IS a down side to using ANY Opioid. Yes, they will help with the pain, but are very habit forming, PLUS…..one should avoid driving because technically you would be Driving Under the Influence. I know. I was taking Morphine and Tramadol for ten years for Neuropathy pain. I got pulled over by a cop who just happened to be a good friend. I told him about my condition and my meds. As a friend he had me do a Field Sobriety test which I failed miserably because my Neuropathy makes walking straight impossible. Again, as a friend, he took me to the ER for a blood test, which showed the narcotics, and I failed miserably also. All this could have resulted in a ticket, but instead he took me home and had another cop drive my car home. he said IF I promised to quit driving OR get off narcotics, he would NOT give me the ticket I sooooo deserved. I got off very lucky and within a month I was at Mayo’s Pain Rehab Center where they cleaned me up and taught me how to “MANAGE” my pain. BTW, my cop friend is now an even better friend.

@shellsk24

Had my second round of facet injections last week. It’s been 5 days and still no relief. I guess its safe to say I was not a good candidate for the injections. Continuing with the injections after 2 rounds with no relief seems pointless, not to mention costly. Glad to know it worked for others though. 🙂

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What a great friend – making a punishable moment into a deep learning moment.

Liked by paracat, bluelagoon

@predictable

Hi @sandytoes14, I notice you have had problems in both lumbar and cervical regions of your spine. I have a little information to add to your notes. On the lumbar issue, I had lower back pain for months; physical therapy only made it worse, because it wasn’t a classical spinal problem; it turned out to be inflammation of the sacroiliac joint on one side of my pelvis. The diagnosis depended on a type facet injection into the inflamed joint; by stopping the pain for good, it proved that the inflammation diagnosis was correct. Within six weeks, carefully designed physical therapy treatments brought the pain to an end. It hasn’t returned in four years.

On the cervical issue, a good friend in her early 50s had deteriorating discs in her C 5-6 vertebrae. Injections and blocks by pain specialists helped but not permanently. She decided to replace three damaged discs — not fuse the vertebrae, but restore her previous flexible cervical spine. No such surgical procedure involving two or more discs was approved for performance in the US 7 years ago (it may not be even today). So she went to Germany for two weeks and had the surgeons there insert artificial discs. She met several other Americans who were there for the same operation. I have communicated with one of them over the years since. She and my friend both returned to full physicality without pain of any significance — one back to playing semi-professional hockey, the other running and playing golf regularly. The fantastic thing was that my friend’s surgery involve incisions to approach the spine from the front of her throat. Miraculously, in my view, there was no damage to nerves or blood vessels, which was crucial since she is an accomplished singer who could have lost her voice for good. She didn’t, and she continues as the leader of her church choir and a primary soprano in a regional professional choir.

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@predictable I saw the ortho surgeon. He is not recommending any surgery at this time. If I had numbness or weakness he would, but the various injections have that issue currently resolved. So it’s back to suffering with 1 Norco a day for relief of pain (9 is my usual without it, 8 with Norco) Doctors in my area are unwilling to prescribe any narcotics.
Thanks again for the info!

@shellsk24

Had my second round of facet injections last week. It’s been 5 days and still no relief. I guess its safe to say I was not a good candidate for the injections. Continuing with the injections after 2 rounds with no relief seems pointless, not to mention costly. Glad to know it worked for others though. 🙂

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medic7054 You are lucky to have such a good friend. Is there any way to tell what states have laws like this? I never thought of this. I drive all the time, but since I have used my pain medication for years I feel that I can adjust for it, so far no accidents or tickets for many years. If this is true in many states it will make pain control harder and life more difficult for many pain suffers.. Opioids are not the best pain control, but for some they work. In fact my sciatic pain which usually comes as shooting pains that cause me to jump are in my opinion more dangerous if I am driving, however if I feel an attack coming on I do not drive, nor do I drive if I feel I can not control things well due to new medication.. If many states have these kinds of laws there are many people who could be in trouble. From my point of view this adds more problems for pain suffers who maintain control, but may not be able to pass a blood test. I could not walk a straight line even if I had no drugs in my system since I am missing a leg and I kind of wabble when I walk in all circumstances. 🙂 I woulld like to know if there is a way to check which states have strict standards? 19lin

@shellsk24

Had my second round of facet injections last week. It’s been 5 days and still no relief. I guess its safe to say I was not a good candidate for the injections. Continuing with the injections after 2 rounds with no relief seems pointless, not to mention costly. Glad to know it worked for others though. 🙂

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All states have basically the same DWI laws. When driving with narcotics onboard you are running the risk. No, lets say you had an accident and the other party was either seriously injured or killed, you would be held liable when they tested your blood and found narcotics. I was lucky.

My doctor was very hopeful but they didn’t work for me but I sure wish you good luck.

The doctor told me epidermal injection would help me and should take care of my back and legs. It helped for about a week and now back to where I was before the shot. I’m in pain every day what else can I do besides this injection.

@kajensen

The doctor told me epidermal injection would help me and should take care of my back and legs. It helped for about a week and now back to where I was before the shot. I’m in pain every day what else can I do besides this injection.

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I wish I had a magic wand to wave over you (and myself too, for that matter). But all you can do – and I think this is VERY important – is to go back to your doc and KEEP going back to your doc until he comes up with something that works or refers you to someone else who can help you.

If you get frustrated and give up (and I understand the temptation ) it will NEVER get better. But if you keep coming back and coming back and insisting your doc find a solution he will be VERY motivated to find it b/c he’ll get VERY tired of hearing from you. Remember, it’s the SQUEAKY wheel that gets oiled.

@kajensen

The doctor told me epidermal injection would help me and should take care of my back and legs. It helped for about a week and now back to where I was before the shot. I’m in pain every day what else can I do besides this injection.

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I have had epidural injections as well. Did your doctor tell you that you may need more than one shot to obtain any relief? My former pain relief doctor was an anesthesiologist and provided me with the full scope of expectations. I had minimal relief with the first injection but had great relief with the second. I would talk to your doctor.

Liked by shellsk24

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