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Isn't Facet Joint Pain Horrible?

caitycccaityc Posts: 268
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
I've learned recently that my facet joints at L5 S1 are arthritic and diminishing. My disk is gone at that level, and I have scar tissue from a diskectomy thats invading my nerves and my spinal cord. But the pain from lack of proper facet joints is just horrible!

It's that horrible "bone on bone" feeling that gets me. That sharp pain when I happen to move in the wrong direction.

Just thought I'd reach out to my fellow facet joint disease sufferers. :)

Hang in there! :)




  • I have lumbar facet joint disease in my bottom 6 joints plus more degenerative disc disease above my L5/S1 spinal fusion form 1998. On January 6, 13, and 20 I had 8 facet injections for which they knocked me out for and I must say they did help. Right now the fibro is what is giving me fits due to our crazy weather. yesterday it was cold and raining cats and dogs which put the fibro pain through the roof and then this morning we woke up to 4 inches of snow! I found that making myself exercise helped as did my lidoderm patches and my heated rice bags.

    sue in ohio
  • I have L5-S1 facet degeneration as well that was diagnosed before I had a L4-5 fusion 16 months ago. I have severe constant pain from my lumbar/sacral area around to my groin, and down my legs bilaterally. Since the fusion, the pain has worsened; facet injections have not helped. I discontinued taking Lyrica in January due to unpleasant side effects, but am going to discuss returning to a low dose to help out with this pain. Gel ice packs help somewhat and I use them at night as the pain escalates at night.

    I am concerned about the future of that level, as I am sure you are as well. I now wish that we would have addressed that level during the fusion, but my surgeon absolutely would not talk with me about it, even when reading the radiology report.

    Wish I could offer some real insight, but I can only say that I'm right there with you.

  • Sue, I'm so sorry about your fibro. I'm glad the injections for your facet joints helped a little.

    Sleeprgirl, I'm surprised they didn't address your L5 S1 before your surgery too, as I'm sure most of us have learned that fusions put pressure on your other levels. I'm so sorry for your pain.

    It's just nice to know that I am not alone in this. This message board has helped me through some pretty tough times.

  • i have had four facet rhizotomies with cortisone injections, bilaterally, and they have been very successful. unfortunately they don't last long enough, but at least there is relief for a while.

  • I have been dealing with facet joint pain for nearly three years now. I have had steroid injections, a nerve ablation and done countless hours of physical therapy. Everything seems to help a bit but every once n awhile the pain comes back enough to put me down for a few days. Which I can deal with because I am in school and have only a few days of classes. I am just worried about what will happen when I have to be at a job 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Sitting is always the worst, I have no idea how I am going to manage it. I guess my question is how does everyone deal with extreme amounts of pain and still have a job and a life? Can anyone do without pain killers?
  • I get trigger point injections every 2 months, take aleve twice a day, exercise and stretch daily, and get trigger point release massage. Had an hour one yesterday and slept better since I don't know when. I found a really good massotherapist who does hour massages for $30! I also go to the chiropractor frequently and do not sit for long periods. When I have to sit for a longer period at church, I take two special pillows, one for under me and one behind me and they really help.

    sue in ohio
  • I've been working for years in constant low back pain, either related to degenerative facets or disks (take your pick). Yes I'm on a long-acting narcotic (Fentanyl) & several other meds, but it allows me to continue working. Fortunately I'm also able to work at home remotely when my back pain gets bad.
    Every work situation is different, but even if you have a sedentary desk job, you can get up & walk around, do simple exercises & stretches at your desk, etc.
    Good luck with your facet pain & future working endeavors. tom
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