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2 Facet Injections, 1 Nerve Block and 1 Radio Frequency, NO HELP

60DegreeVVT660DegreeVVT Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Lower Back Pain
Greetings! My name is Ryan. I am 28 years old and I have been in pain management therapy for 2 years with no success.

Backstory :

In college (2005) I was in a car accident, thrown from a Jeep crash and fractured my L1, compound fracture to clavicle, muscle and tissue damage to right arm and right leg. My back injury was never treated because the country hospital I was taken to only focused on the visible issues. I complained and did physical therapy for 1.5 years. I got better...

Current :

Two years ago My wife and I purchased our home. It was a total rehab. Me and a friend gutted, painted, chipped up tiles, removed carpeting and installed new cabinets, lighting, wood floors and painted some more. We did this in 6 days time. I never took breaks because I could not afford to do this house and pay back rent to the buyers of our old home.

Needless to say, a few days later i started to have back pain. I went to a GP after being forced by my wife and I got an MRI done on my lumbar and thoracic levels of my spine. They said I had nerve damage from L1-SI1. I started Physical Therapy, no progress after 3 months. I was referred to a pain management doctor. We tried trigger point injections and medication. No help. Since then we have done 2 rounds of facet joint injections from T12-SI1, 1 Nerve block procedure from L2-L5 and in October of 2011 we did Radio Frequency Ablation from L2-SI1. I have not received any benefit from the procedure. If anything I am more tight and hurting than ever.

I went to my doctor AGAIN yesterday and asked when I should consider getting an orthopedic surgeon's consult. He told me I am too young to consider this... I don't feel like I am getting help from him and I need to do something. I have a 9 month old son and he is only getting heavier....

Sorry to be so long winded... Any help would be appreciated.


  • So very sorry to hear about your pain and related problems. I know it's so frustrating and draining. We've been through the injections and ablations also. Did the MRI "show" nerve damage or are they just guessing? One of the hardest things we've done is try to get an accurate and definitive diagnosis, but I know it's really important. We got the most informed help from an orthopedic office that specializes in spine injuries/disorders rather than the practices that treat all kinds of orthopedic problems - just a thought. Also, my son had severe muscle spasms for several months after his ablation - he couldn't tell it was spasms - just felt like more pain to him. I don't know if that is what is happening to you or not, but it's something worth thinking about. Good luck and best wishes.
  • Thank You LCarpenter.

    I have my "report" from the MRI but it is in medical terminology and I dont fully understand it. The doctor said that my discs are deteriorating and putting pressure on the nerves. That is why I am having the pain.

    As for the muscle spasms, I have those too. When ever I lay down I have spasms for about 30 minutes. It is tough to fall asleep. I have started taking a sleep aid to fall asleep but I am not able to stay asleep.

    I started to read everything I should have before the procedure. I am starting to think that my doctor is just looking to collect his fee.
  • 2x 4 facet injections

    I've found the BEST source of accurate information regarding YOUR spine, is by getting multiple independent opinions from specialists. I got a neurosurgeons opinion on my RF burn/ Facet injections etc from the get go because he's NOT someone that performs that procedure. He only performs actual back surgeries that are invasive. I took his words, and compared them to the words of 2 other spine specialists in the area for a true knowledge base. Then I did research online about it extensively to see others success/ failures and judge for myself if the risk was worth the reward in terms of pain.

    I got lucky, my RF burn seems to have been dead on target. It sounds like your situation is pretty serious! I really hope you find resolution, I've only been on this site a week and find it VERY helpful.

    Not giving my opinion, just telling my story.

  • 60DegreeVVT

    I think you need to see an orthopaedic spinal surgeon as you have deteriorating discs and nerve pressure,I too have had these nerve blocks and denervations in my neck some years ago,and am having a nerve block tomorrow at L5/S1 area, for sciatic nerve irritation and spasms also foot drop.I have just had surgery 8 weeks ago for decompression of spine and nerves yet I still have sciatic problems although not as severe as before op.
    This time my nerve block is being performed by my spinal surgeon whereas before they were done by a pain clinic.

    I am not a great believer in these blocks but here I am having it done again,to see if I have problems elsewhere other than my surgery site,this can sometimes help the surgeon determine if more surgery is needed.Time will tell

    Best of luck

  • I've had my L5/S1 fused twice, first in 05 from the back and again in 2011 from the front - much better recovery from the front. While it helped some, I still hurt ALL THE TIME and I'm on exalgo, percocet, muscle relaxers, etc, etc. Along with my major surgeries I've had a slew of injections, RFLs, freeze, heat, massage, acupunture, etc. I'm supposed to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted next week - the trial showed it helps but doesn't eliminate the pain. Bottom line, we are all different so I'd suggest asking your main or family physician for the name of a good pain management doc and a referral to a neurosurgeon. My best experiences have been with a NS over a OS. I heartily suggest keep shopping for a doc that gets you, meaning LISTENS and responds. A good pain doc can help you by getting you on a good regime of meds that can help you with your pain. Your family MD can help but the pain docs usually are the best, for me anyway. Some folks can maybe recommend docs in your area. Good luck!
  • Hi and welcome to Spine Health,

    I too have had all the treatments you have had, many times over. I was knocked unconscious by a snowboarder and among other things he put my SI joint in another time zone. Over the years the rest of my spine has deteriorated. I have had 4 back surgeries and they are the only things that have taken away the symptoms of pain and numbness and weakness that I was having.

    Luckily I have a very good spine specialist and that is probably something you should look into. The MRI will show what is happening in your spine but you want someone who knows the spine to be interpreting it. Get several opinions if necessary.

    Keep your core strong if possible. I have been doing core strengthening for years and I know that helped me recover from surgeries and protect my back.

    Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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