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Facet nerve block didn't work

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,607
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Spinal Injections
Well, I had the nerve block yesterday, with no success. She did 8 injections, 4 per side. But after a half an hour, I could tell that I still had as much pain as before the shots.

I am very disappointed. The doctor made a comment that "it must be inflammation that we are dealing with", when she examined me after the injections. But I'm not sure what that means for my treatment. I already had steroid injections, and they didn't help either.

I will wait to see what she has to say when I see her next. I need to make an appointment for sometime in the next few weeks. I am so tired of this pain, even though I know it isn't as bad as many other people here. But 1.5 years of constant pain, is getting old. And I'm tired of needing help with all kinds of things I used to be able to do myself, and not being able to do a lot of things I want to do.

Sorry for ranting, I just needed to get it out.


  • or think that your pain is any less important than the rest of us. Most of us can relate to what you are going through and never mind being here to talk to or just listen to rants. have you had a discogram yet? what about the possibilty of a rhizotomy (nerve burn) since it sounds like they are leaning towards your facet joints being the problem?
  • you really would not feel the results in 1/2 an hour. maybe it will just take a little longer for you. nevertheless they do not last as long as rhizotomy.
  • The way my doctor explained it, the nerve block was to see if a rhizotomy would work. So, since the nerve block didn't work, she says we won't go further down that route, as in we won't do a rhizotomy.

    It's now been two days, with no change in my pain, so I'm pretty sure the nerve block didn't work. This is different than steroid injections, which I know can take up to two weeks to work. The nerve block is done with numbing medication, so the effects should be fairly quick.

    The only things (procedures) I have had done so far are: 2 ESI's (at the discs), 1 facet steroid injection, and the facet nerve block. I have also been having acupuncture once a week for about 2.5 months.

    I have had very little pain reduction (there has been some - but not enough in my estimation). I have pain in my lower back, that sometimes radiates into my right hip and down the front of my right leg toward the inside of my knee (indicative of L4/L5 disc), and sometimes down the back of my left leg (though that is rare).

    I just don't know what the next step might be. And unfortunately I can't get an appointment with my doctor until Sep. 12th. I will look into more information here, to see if I can figure out what else might be going on, and see if a discogram seems appropriate. Thanks.
  • =(( ...that the nerve block didn't work. Perhaps this is an issue not caught by MRI. I sure wish I knew what to say. The frustration is difficult to take, I get that.
    My DH ruptured nearly every disc 12 years ago, and has been in varying levels of excruciating pain ever since. It didn't occur to anyone until a brilliant NP assessed him last month that some of his problems might be related to an area that has no discs - his SI joints. Altho' they were only able to successfully inject one side (bad arthritis), his pain relief was amazing. (Made him much more comfortable while waiting for the nerve-root block.)
    Not suggesting that's your problem. Merely hoping that you have a good provider who's ready to think outside the box. Our bodies were strangely and wonderfully created. Sometimes docs overlook that...and I hope yours doesn't.
    All my best! :)))
  • Thanks you guys, for being understanding and supportive.

    I will just keep taking one day at a time, and trying to make the best of it. I will continue to hope for the best.
  • what does your pain feel like? burning? im looking for answers 2... and i heard with facets you dont get pain down your leg and i dont.
  • Well, I don't know that my problem is from the nerves at the facet joint now. If it were, then the nerve block should have helped.

    The only real "diagnosis" I have is from the MRI results (which is listed at the bottom of my posts). My PM doc and I are still trying to figure out what is causing my pain, and how to treat it. Because of the disc degeneration we started out by targeting the disc nerves, by having ESI's. These didn't help for more than a few days, and even that wasn't a whole lot. So then the PM thought it might be facets, from my description of the pain, and we tried a facets injection. This also gave only minor relief, but enough that she wanted to follow up with the nerve block.

    My pain is in my lower back and my right hip. Sometimes the pain continues from my hip, down my leg crossing over the front of my thigh to the inside of my knee (more frequently longer ago, less so now). This by the way, is a classic L4/L5 disc symptom. I have more pain sitting, less standing and walking, and even less laying down (within a reasonable amount of time - all these positions can cause pain if I do them for too long). The pain going into my leg usually feels like an ache, just like my back, but there are times when it also feels a little burning. For the most part, I am at least convinced that it is likely nerve pain. Narrowing down where it is coming from is taking a really long time. I started seeing my PM maybe 9 months ago (before that had been seeing a collegue of hers, who only had me go to PT - which I feel was a waste of time and didn't help at all), and had my MRI done in Dec last year (after asking that first doc about having one, which he refused).

    I don't think the fact that the pain went into my leg, was the reason my PM thought it might be the facets. I think it was more the fact that I had more pain bending backwards than forwards, though when I have investigated this further at home, I just have pain whichever direction I bend.

    I hope you figure out what is causing your pain, and can get some relief soon.
  • Hey all

    I hope my info. will be of some help to all. I am a 44 year old that has been suffering with back pain as long as probably more than 10 years. I have been taking between Vicodin or darvocet for a very, very long time. As of today I am so happy to say that I have been off pain medicine now for at least 10 weeks. I was refered to a pain clinic in Portage, Michigan. I received at least 6 injections & the very next day I woke up with no back pain because before any injections I would wake up on horable pain. I just received on Monday the 25th more injections & hopefully they will last as long as the 1st ones. My doctor has recomended doing a Rhizotomy on me on 10-20-08. I am not sure if I want to yet.
  • I had an accident 16 years ago...Hair caught in printing machine and pulled out, that is when my neck pain and other problems began. As if that wasn't bad enough, I was in a car accident 3 months ago. I ended up with a concussion, sprained wrist and a contusion on my knee. Along with that, I aggrevated my neck injury, got numbness in my right hand and pain in my right shoulder blade. I'm only 37! I have suffered for 16 years and now, because of the car accident, I feel HORRIBLE! I started to have other problems which I don't know if they could be related. I was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis. I finally was sent to a pain clinic, who sent me to have 4 facet nerve blocks on each side of my neck. They started with my left side, which I noticed No relief. Two weeks later they did my right side and for the first time in 16 years, I FEEL WONDERFUL! I felt wonderful the first day of the injections. I didn't think I would ever feel normal again. What does this mean for me? I can't get these 3 times a year. The procedure was horrible. I felt everything the first time and when they injected the medicine, it was the worst feeling EVER! How long do the first shots last. Any suggestions?
  • i have had these done 15 times over the years. i have tried different doctors different procedures basically i have beed their test rat. hope you have better luck....todd
  • Hi all,

    I am new here. I am trying the Facet Block from my Surgeon as he said as a last resort to make sure my lower back problems are not arthritis related. He has said it is bone deficiency and disc deterioration is involved. Nerve pain runs in both legs and numbness is in feet. I have heard Facet Block is very painful??? Is it?? I am not good at knowing yet what disc number its last disc involved and the one up from that as well. Just wondered amount of pain? Susieq2u
  • I am so sorry for what you are going through. I do apologize for the post I put before as well. I put in wrong place. I hope that in time you will start to get some relief. I will watch and keep good thoughts for you.
  • Well even though the facet nerve block did not work, it wasn't all for nothing. At least we can rule out my facet joints as being the major problem. ;) I'm trying to stay positive here.

    The facet block injections were not too uncomfortable for me. I hope that they aren't (or weren't) uncomfortable for you either. Have you had facet joint steroid injections, my doctor did that first. They were very similar, in my opinion.
  • I agree with treefrog, the nerve block injections were no big deal. With all of my injections, I did have them give me a very mild sedative, they asked each time if I wanted them or not. (I figure if they're poking around my spine why take the chance of me moving when I shouldn't?? :) )

    Anyway, I had two facet blocks (or medial branch blocks), they use two different numbing medications, one has short effect and the other much longer. They won't tell you which you'll get when either. I'll say that the shorter acting injection wore off before the sedative - I had no relief at all. The longer lasting one gave me 4 days of absolute bliss!! And a rhizotomy a couple weeks ago too as this is what the doc apparently expected to hear.

    Treefrog, sorry the blocks didn't work out, I fully understand and appreciate the "well that test came back negative, let's try this" speech, the frustration is almost worse than the pain itself. The PM doc I'm seeing now has made ongoing (although small) improvements for me so my frustration level has been a bit lower but not gone.

    And we all need a good rant now and then, it's good for the soul! ;)
  • Well, I posted about it in the surgery section, but I thought I would let people reading here know, that the next step for me is to have a discogram. This is where they inject dye directly into suspect discs (and non-suspect discs as a control). The dye increases the pressure inside the disc. If this increase in pressure causes the same pain you've been experiencing, then they can conclude that that disc(s) is the one causing your pain. If it is negative, if injecting the dye does not cause the same pain, then they can conclude that it is not the disc causing the pain, but something else.

    So, I am having one on Dec 3rd. And then I am consulting with a surgeon on the 15th. I've been trying conservative treatment for a year and a half, and it's time for more aggresive treatment.

    It is frustrating that it takes so long, but I understand why. In situations such as mine, when mri results don't give clear indications of the cause of my pain, then it can take time to try different treatments to identify the cause.

    So, don't give up, keep working with your doctor. Give different treatments a fair chance of working.
  • You got it right: keep your communications up with your doc and make sure everyone is on the same page. And give your treatments the opportunity to work. Frustration will always be there, just like stress you have to find a way to deal with it. Some days will be better than others, if you have a bad day, things will get better.

    Cathy good luck on your discogram, I understand they can be very helpful in diagnosis.
  • Yes the discogram should be diagnostic. My PM (the one who is doing the discogram) said it would help her in treating me, even if I wasn't a candidate for surgery. That's why I am having it done before I see the surgeon. It should help both doctors in determining my treatment options.
  • Good luck with your discogram next week! I bet we've traded attitudes right now, I'm sure you're anxious to move foreward, that's always encouraged me. I'm 6+ weeks after an RF Rhizotomy with no relief yet so I'm pretty discouraged now, I guess I should listen to my own advice and allow the procedure to do its thing but that's becoming more difficult to do every day. My next PM visit is in a couple weeks, should be interesting if I'm still not feeling any benefit from the RF...
  • But now I'm not sure that the discogram is going to happen. I forgot to stop taking the Mobic (was supposed to stop taking it 5 days before the procedure to minimize bleeding complications). I need to call my doctor tomorrow.

    I'm gonna cry if I find out they have to postpone the discogram. Even if it's my own fault.
  • I have been living with cervical, thoracic and lumbar pains from work injury since 2008. I have seen many neurosurgeons of which none recommend surgery because i would need a 5 level cervical fusion. They said i am too young at 43 to risk such a risky procedure and i would be disappointed in results. I have tried 2 rounds of 2 series of cervical epidural corticosteroid injections with little to no improvement. I have tried 1 round of SI joint injections no help. I recently tried cervical facet block with no improvement either. Am i alone feeling like this? Tired of living with serious daily pains that ruins my ability to do any activities with my family or being stuck in bed for days at a time and having NO quality of life left at all? Plz help.
    Nancy sadulski
  • LizLiz Posts: 8,054
    This is a very old thread, for best support and information I suggest you make a new thread, you can do this by clicking on 'create forum post' on the left column.


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Well it has been 5 days since I have done the right side cervical facet nerve block and I am still not feeling anything different. The only difference is right side still hurting and now left side that wasn't hurting much and tense is now hurting badly and tight. Don't know what to do. I go see my Dr. on July 7th for follow up. He did state that was our last resort and if it didn't work all that would be left would be acupuncture which of course isn't covered by my health insurance. Has anyone tried acupuncture and has it work for anyone in here???? Thank you so much.
    Nancy sadulski
  • What is the actual diagnosis that you are trying to treat? Some conditions respond to some treatments better than others.
    Herniations won't improve with accupuncture, nor will stenosis or nerve compression....accupuncture can be beneficial in treating ongoing pain, but when there is actual compromise of the function of the nerve due to compression or impingement, then it is not likely to help.
  • Sandi thanks for the reply. I have diagnosed with so many thing. Spinal stenosis, narrowing of canal in cervical area, myelopathy in upper and lower extremeties, herniated discs, pinched nerves and compressions on spinal cord from herniations, severe weakness in arms/hands and legs to name a few. first they had me do physical therapy and that didn't help it actually made it worse so they released me, then they tried the steroid injections 4 times with no results and no the facet nerve block which didn't work either. I have been living on hydrocodones and muscle relaxers for 5 yrs and 2mths. My liver is taking a toll. Unfortunately the pain killers and muscle relaxers are barely getting me through my day. I am now finding myself sleeping my life away to avoid pains but now my low back is locking up while sleeping and I can't change position from sleeping on my back to turning on my side because the pain is so extreme.
    Nancy sadulski
  • I had medial injections done today, and the l5-s1 nerves hurt severely, I still fell pain in my facet joints, and can barely move, and now there is nausea and vomiting. What do I do? I really don't want to go to the hospital, but it looks like my husband isn't going to give me a choice if I vomit again
    Candi Jones
  • driechddriech Posts: 1
    edited 08/14/2015 - 4:24 AM
    susieq2u - I had one done yesterday 8/4/15, at C6-7 right side. It's NOT painful. They'll start an IV, ask you a thousand questions (3 times) , and then roll you into surgery. They'll spend a lot of time positioning you EXACTLY like the doctor wants, then POOF, you're in recovery. They give you something to knock you out because the last thing the doctor wants is for you to move. I hope it works for you. Good luck!

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