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It was fun while it lasted

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Spinal Injections
As you can see by my signature, I had Facet Joint Injections and ESI on August 6, 2009 and did very well up until now. I had to remove my ESI ticker.

The lower back pain caused by bad Facet Joints came back slowly, but is back to pre-injection pain levels. Although the ESI lasted over a month, this week it's back. It's a bit strange because although the pain doesn't travel all the way down to my feet like before, it's range is wider than it was, if that makes sense. It's like before the injection it was a stream down the back of my legs to my feet and now it's a river down the back of my legs to my knees.

The back of my neck is also in pain daily now and of course, the ever present muscle spasms are still my companion.

I'm trying to get the nerve to call my doctor, not because they aren't nice or wouldn't want to know, I'm just not sure if I'm ready to face what's coming yet. I know they mentioned a nerve burn (Rhizotomy, right?), but I don't eactly know what's going to happen.

I'm bummed out.

Can someone tell me what they're experience with a nerve burn has been?

Thanks for listening.


  • I understand you being bummed out. I can not offer any advice on the procedure you are asking about but I can say I understand the return of your pain.
    I have been going through a spike in my pain since I fell and I had a day and a half breather when my pain returned to normal then that evening when it spiked again it was worse than ever!! Major, major pain!!

    I am sure someone here can help you on the procedure.
    Our lives are a roller coaster ride aren't they?
    Best of luck to you.
    Patsy W :H
  • To hear the injections didn't last and the pain has rearranged itself. I've never heard of injections
    lasting longer than four weeks so i've never deemed it worthy of trying. :(

  • I'm sorry to hear that.
    hugs Patsy
  • What a drag! Glad you got a month's worth of relief out of your ESI, though. You describe the feeling as going from a trickle to a stream. I wonder if the pain level is actually the same, but since your brain had a taste of "no pain" the symptoms just magnified when they returned?

    I had a "radiofrequency ablation" which I believe is about the same as what your asking. It was a nerve burn. Mine was only the trial, though. And, I had a good response to that. Not sure how long it would've lasted though, because I was rear-ended about 6 weeks after. And I was feeling GOOD too. About an hour and a half after the accident is when I started feeling everything crumble.

    Well, anyways, that was my experience. I would like to think it would have actually done some good.

    Hopefully, there are others here who can say the same thing. And that will help you make up your mind.

    Good luck! These decision are not always easy. but, for me - I said "Ok let's do it" each time some new procedure was suggested. Gotta have hope the next procedure is going to be "the one". I wish you well, Cath.
  • if only they'd last longer but be thankful it helped for a while. i had two of them and felt absolutely no relief. is it more difficult walking now?
  • Hi Cath,

    Sorry to hear that the relief from your ESI didn't last longer (I was told they could give relief for 3 months or more).

    Do you think maybe you overdid it during this last month? Sometimes when we feel better we get crazy and do more than we know is good for us. Am just wondering if you inadvertently stressed your back and that's why the facet joint pain is worse. :/

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I have had radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or nerve burning done several times. I always have extreme pain for a few days to a week after the procedure and I take stronger pain medication to get me through it. Also, I use a lot of ice packs. I am heavily sedated for the procedure so I don't start to get the bad pain until many hours after the RFA. I have always had a reduction in my pain levels as a result of the procedure and it lasts from a few weeks to a couple of months. The RFA works better for me than nerve blocks.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    this. Sounds a bit more than a flareup or relapse.
    But I know that you have a positive attitude, you have the support and love from your husband, so there isnt a procedure you will be tough much for you.
    I only wish there were some guarantees. Like you have to deal with 5 to 7 days worth of pain for a much better situation later on.
    Talk it over with your doctor, so what procedure he does want you to go through. And think if it this way, its just another badge of honor that you can pin up on your spine
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I had one done in my neck.. No help at all and I was put out to have it done. But my uncle had it done down his spine and swears by it. I was told it would last 9months. The esi's I had (I had 1-2wks apart)on lower back was great and lasted about 14 mths which is a long time,he must of hit the right spot.
    It's another one of those things that you never know til you try!
    Goodluck and I hope you get some relief !
  • Thanks fellow spineys for the info and thoughts. I think I'll call today and make an appointment for next week. It really is best to just face what has to be done and do it.

    Jeaux, it's possible that because I haven't had sciatic pain for over a month that it now seems stronger than before the shots. But I guess it doesn't matter, it's there.

    Inchworm, it's not only possible that I did a lot of things I couldn't before, I did do those things. But the way I look at it, when you have a procedure done to relieve the pain, you have to do normal things like laundry and cooking to see if you can live a normal life. If you can't do those things without pain returning, then you still haven't solved the problem.

    I don't want to just put a bandaid on my spine and then not be able to do anything. I'm looking for permanent relief so I can live normally. I know, I know, pie in the sky dream. But we all strive for that, don't we? At least until reality slaps us in the face and says, "Sorry, buddy, face it: you're never going to be your old normal again. Just deal with it."

    Pete, yes, the sciatic pain makes it hard to walk. It's more pronounced in my left leg and the pins and needles is more pronounced in my right leg. I get stronger pins and needs in a strange oval spot on the outside of my leg below the knee. It's not there all the time, but it hits hard sometimes. Not real painful, just very annoying.

    Pat, Jasro, PapaRon and Patsy, thanks for the thoughts. I know we've all been through this and this is just my time.

    mcarr and Hollie, thanks for the info. It helps to hear others experiences.

    Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted and like PapaRon said, I have a great support system with my hubby in the leading role, so I'm not alone. And yes, PapaRon, I'll wear my badge with pride. :-)

    Thanks again.

  • Geez, dude, you scared the beegeebies outta me with your title. LOL

    Thank goodness I love peas.

    Thanks for the info. I wouldn't have any problems with you telling me the gory details. I figure if I can just get through all of this without a discogram, I'll be extremely lucky. I never want to have one of those.

    I made my appointment today and I'll see the doc next Wednesday at noon.

    Take care Michael.
  • Sorry that it didnt last very long for you. Has your Dr said anything about repeating it? Sometimes it can last longer if it is done again. I wish you luck with your Dr visit. I had a discogram and would do it again because it was the thing that found out the problem. It is painful, only for a while, and then it starts getting better. But maybe it would find the source for you and resolve somethings? Just a thought. My thoughts and prayers are with you and will be thinking of you and waiting to see what Dr says. Good Luck...Love, Robin >:D<
  • sorry you are back to square one again ..my pain consultant told me that on most people spinal injections are a waste of time and if they do work there don't tend to last very long .AND cause more fibrosis due to the trauma of the
    needle piercing your spine ,yuck!!
  • Dear Cath,

    I am so sorry to hear about your pain coming back so soon. I was hoping you would have relief a good while longer. I miss seeing your ticker!

    It didn't take you long to realize that you need to get back in and speak with your doctor. Good for you. (I would have mulled it over the whole weekend, so it's good you decided to call on Friday). Your doctor recommended the Facet Joint Injections and ESI, in an attempt to give you relief. You were fortunate to experience some relief for a little while and I know your doctor wants to help you. He doesn't want to see our Cath suffering... so he will put his Thinking Cap back on and try something else. You are never hasty in making a decision, so whatever he suggests... you will think it over, do your research, get input from your hubby and Wally, and you know others here are going to share their experiences too.

    I know it is a real bummer that you didn't have longer relief. I can't help but be hopeful that whatever needs to be done next, to help your pain, will work even longer than this last round of procedures. It's tough having to try so many different things to help control our pain. Some of what we try, won't be of much worth. But, I strongly feel there are other pain relieving avenues we need to explore. Your doctor knows what avenues are worth a try, in a sincere attempt to provide you additional pain relief. I know by Wednesday, you'll go in and have an open mind to what he suggests.

    Keep taking your meds to keep your pain to a tolerable level, until you see your doctor. I will be anxious to hear how your visit goes and I hope your many pains start to ease off with resting and taking your meds. It's time to take it easy again, Cath, and let the meds do their work on all of your pains right now.

    I'll be thinking about you and please keep us posted with how you are doing. Vent... whenever you need to.

    Pretend you can feel some comforting pats and gentle rubs on your back from me. It's going to be okay.

    Tammy :)
  • Sorry to hear that the effects of the injection didn't last longer. I've heard that if they do work, it could be weeks to over a year for some. Thanks for all the info though, and sharing your experience. I'm still waiting for my date to get my first medial branch block done. It's all trial and error, I suppose, if one thing doesn't work, move on to the next. I hope you find relief, soon.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • None of the injections I have received have had any lasting effect. I had RFA 9 days ago, L4-5, L5-S1. Burned 6 nerves. I still feel like crap, though it has gotten better the last few days. Doc says it could take 4 weeks to feel better, if not he's going to do it again. My fingers are crossed!
  • Do you find they are more painful than standard steriod injections? I've had 2 epidurals, with very little success, and my doc told me facet injections are probably next on the list. He told me they are more painful. :(

    Just want to get your opinions.


  • I had four injections at the same time, bilateral ESI and bilateral Facet Joint Injection. I felt no pain at all during the procedure but the pain in the back of my legs immediately afterwards was intense. I don't know which of them contributed to this, but I assume it was the ESI, which was to help with my sciatic pain. The pain that I mentioned afterwards was like extreme sciatic pain. That went away by the next day.

    I've heard a lot of variations from person to person on how painful the facet injection procedure is. Some say it's pretty painful and others, like me, felt no pain at all.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
  • they didn't hurt you. My 1st epidural wasn't too bad, but my second one really hurt. I will probably do the facet injections with twilight. I) Just to be on the safe side. :D

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