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Facet Injections Scheduled

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Pain Management
Hi All,
I hope someone can help with this. I don't know why I didn't think to ask my Dr. but I'd rather hear from someone who's had the procedure anyway. My main fear is that the facet injections will be like a mylogram (sp?). The pain of that was so horrendous I couldn't quit crying for hours, it's like the pain set all my nerves off. I have a Spinal Cord Stimulator implant and the pain of the mylogram was almost as bad as the stimulator surgery.
Please tell me the facet injections aren't like that. I've read about them and I'm about to call and cancel. I've had severe back pain for the past few years but the stimulator is for Peripherial Neropathy in my feet, no help for my back. Can anyone tell me if the facet injections are like a mylogram? Are the injections worth it and do they work?
I know that's alot of questions but I'm a nervous wreck. I've lived with so much pain I just can't stand any more.
Help please?
Thanks for any info!
Robyn :)


  • Hi Robyn,

    I've never had a mylogram, so I can't tell you if it feels the same or not. Have you ever had just a regular epidural injection? If so, it's just like that except they will probably give you several instead of just one. Most doctors will give you an IV sedative and a local injection in all the areas they are treating to numb it up. I had 10 - five on each side. I'm not going to lie....it hurt. But - nothing I couldn't handle. Also, I was a bit more sore than usual for about a week. I actually told myself I would never, ever get those done again. But then, after that first week, I felt really, really good for about 3 months. Much better than just the regular epidurals I had had before. So now I know that it is mostly my facets that bother me and that is good to know. So if your facets are already really inflamed and painful, it may be a bit more painful for you, but it also means that the shots should really help with that.
  • I was actually scheduled for a 2 level fusion ast fall and chickened out...Im glad I did. The pain has been tremendous in my back and left leg. I decided to get a 2ed openion differant city. I am 49 years old, and the new neurosurgeon carefully went over all my past MRI's, reports ... and he recomended I try a facet injection, after 2 selctive nerve injections, epidurals, I'm going to give this a shot...pun intended :D I have never had one before, and my pain is much worse when I bend backwords, so due to my age and all the info I gave him he felt this should make a big differance and help me get along with my life, it may last 6 months to 2 years, just depends. They have an informative video on this site. He told me they will touch the nerves with a HOT needle and burn the ends, thus stopping the pain. If you have had an epidural, or discogram, they numb you at differant levels, and they will also give you mild sedation. For me its worth a shot, the pain meds arnt helping much, and I do use ice packs. I will probably be scheduled next week, it can only get better...hopefully. Let me know how it goes, and if your would like I can let your know as well. Rose
  • I have had many sets of facet injections done over the years, and two CT myelograms.

    For the facet injections, some doctors will do conscious sedation and give you just enough demerol and versed to take the edge off, but you are awake during the procedure as they have to know if they are hitting the correct nerve bundle. Some doctors use no sedation - so find out what yours does.

    You will lie face down on a table. The first shot will be that of numbing medication (like Lidocaine) and we all know how bad that burns. You will feel pressure in your buttocks and down your leg. Then you will feel the other needle with the injection material(s) for the facet injection going in. This causes a lot more pressure, and can cause a sense of pain/pressure in the leg(s) just like a myelogram does. This will be repeated on both sides of your spine at each facet location. You will be monitored in post-op to make sure you are okay and may be given pain meds if it hurts to much. The pressure feeling lasts for a few minutes (it did for me at least). Once the numbing medication wore off the relief was gone. It all depends... If you had massive pain with the myelograms, then I would suspect you would have a high pain level with the facet injections. But keep in mind that the injections are not going into your spinal column like the myelogram fluid did, it is going into the nerves that branch off that are outside of the vertebrae so you may feel much less. I actually ended up in the hospital for three days after my final facet injection last December because it turns out I am allergic to contrast dye, which is why the myelograms and injections hurt so bad.... This may be the case with you as well. According to my doctor, this is more common than many doctors realize. How you describe the pain setting your nerves off is exactly the reaction one has to contrast dye if they are sensitive to it. If your doctor is willing, the facet injections CAN be done without the dye and if you are allergic, they will be so much less painfull, including the pressure part, since your nerves won't be set off.

    Are you having these injections are part of a lead-up to a rhizotomy? That is where they use radio frequency ablation to heat up the ends of your nerves to "burn" them off so you don't feel the pain from muscle spasms. Worst thing I ever did. Forty five minutes of pain that gave me no relief and caused the WORST two weeks of muscle spasms I ever had. Many doctors will state the success rate for injections and the rhizotomies is 80% or higher, but if you look at the research done by places like Johns Hopkins, NIH, the Mayo Clinic, etc, it is more like 50%. I knew that the chances were that neither the injections nor the rhizotomoy would work for me, but for my insurance I had to have them as proof of "failed" treatment for getting my intrathecal morphine pump.
  • I have had facet joint injections 3 times. The first 2 were more uncomfortable and the 3rd not so bad 10 days ago. I had them the same time as the epidural and they only use local ansthetic. I wish I could have twilight but it's over pretty quick. I use distraction and pretend I'm lying on the beach and I ususally take a BTP med one hour before. They really helped my back and stopped the locking up. Good luck. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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