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Facet Injection

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone!
I'm 35 and have been daling with lower back pain for years and finally found out last year that I have two bulging discs. I've been taking vicodin on and off for a year now but just got referred to a PM doc and he started me on Opana 15mg. I'm going in for facet injections tomorrow- he said they're diagnostic to determine if some radio frequency thing will help me. Hmmmm... I don't know what he means by that. I had one steroid injection a couple of months ago and it was awful and made my pain worse. I refuse to have any more steroid again. I was offered the pain pump but the doc who offered that told me I would have to be off ALL pain meds for 6 weeks before having it installed. Yeah, right! So, I would rather exhaust all conservative treatments (i.e., pain meds) before having a device installed in my body and going into my spinal column. Will the facet injections treat bulging discs? Will the injections eliminate my need for pain meds? Also, this Opana sedates the heck out of me and wears off after only 7-8 hours....any answers or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  • Hi KittyKat, welcome to Spine-Health!

    The facet injections are in fact a diagnostic test for an RF Rhizotomy, also known as denervation or RF Ablation. Basically, deadening of specific facet nerves. Most likely you will get two injections a week apart, one is a short acting pain medication (like novocaine) and the other longer acting (like marcaine). You will not know which injection has which medication though. After the injections, you'll tell your doctor how long each of them gave you relief. If the results are what he/she expects then you will be a candidate for the RF procedure. There is no therapeutic benefit to these injections, they are only to determine if the RF procedure will be beneficial.
  • I had to tell my Dr the med doen't even last the 12 hours it's supposed to and my Dr. increased the meds 4 fold. Let your Dr know. Facet joint injections have helped me and have not received an RF. 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
  • How funny charry (ok not funny but you know what I mean). For me the longer lasting facet injections worked and the RF did nothing! The short duration injection may have worked too, but not as long as the sedative so who knows?
  • hiya >:D< Welcome To Spine health >:D< The facet joint injections will not do anything for buldging discs :S They will help with the nerve pain and pain and stiffness in your back :) i had these done but still had to take my medications :) They help some people but not others :S everyone is different :?

    Angie :H
  • Thanks Jay and Charry! I appreciate the info! This PM doc is the second one I've seen this month- the first guy wanted to pyt that pain pump in right away so I decided to try to find someone more conservative....it looks like this new doc's "thing" is RF! I'm thinking it would be wise to exhaust all medication options first and then go to the more drastic procedures since the procedures may or may not work, and if they do, their effect may only last a short while. I'm going along with whatever he suggests- I just hope this RF stuff isn't a big racket like I think those cortisone injections are! Well, they were a joke and a waste of money for me anyway. Thanks again for you replies!!!! Take Care!

  • Thanks to Angie as well! I didn't see your post until just now! What you said about these facet things not helping the bulging discs confirms what I thought would be the case. But, everyone is different, especially back and chronic pain patients! I just don't want to be told that this RF is the answer to all my pain, get it done, still be in pain, and be taken off my meds to be in pain, nd withdrawal at the same time! Thanks again Angie! It's so nice to be able to get on here and share my thoughts and worries with others like me11
  • Oops! I meant to close that last post with "me!!"
    not "me11" ...typo!

  • Kitty its so nice to be apreciated >:D< You are very welcome >:D<

    Angie :)
  • I am too am a brand new member. i know nothing about facet joint injections but just wanted to give you heads up on pain pumps. Several MDs have warned me about pumps. Apparently they can cause hormonal problems. One reputable MD said don't even consider it. Another MD said it is used only for cancer patients who may have only several months to live and want relief from pain without being sleepy from their narcotics.
    As for me I have gone through just about every back and neck surgery in the book. I have not obtained relief from the pain. My next procedure will be an electronic spine stimulator. after 40 years of pain I haven't given up hope. Well, I'm off to write my new member story. Good luck in your quest for relief.
    O:) pete
  • welcome to all new here. I rarely post but I had to reply because I just spent many hours researching facet joints/injections.

    Google it so you can see the anatomy of the spine to get a good idea why they are so important to your movement. Interestingly, they produce nerve like pain (they have nerves embedded in them) which tends to make one think the pain is from a disc or stenosis. If its neck facet joints they can produce pain in the neck, shoulders, high back and even down the arms depending on what level is affected.

    Facets joint problems can be from ddd, osteoarthritis and or injury. I had a neck fusion and I keep thinking after one year my pain is from the surgery, but now it may be from the joints since I received my ct report.

    There are two ways to give facet joint injections, on the joint itself or directly on the nerves. As someone said, these injections can work for some without having a RF. Therefore, they are not always used for diagnostic purposes. I hope they will work for me so I will not need an RF.

    Please research everything before you have procedures so you can ask questions. It important to be informed so you can make decisions with your health care professional.

    Hope all works out for you! PS- Ask to be sedated so you will have no discomfort.
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