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first set of facet injections nervous help with what to expect

Hello everyone,
This is my very 1st post sorry if it's not 100% correct.
I have rotary scolisis, DDD, spina bifida S1 occolta (now they are say mis diagnosis), have left side paraesthesia,I have 6 lower lumar vertabre instead of the standard 5,
L5-S1 & L4-5 Mild spondyylosis
L3-4 mild DDD with high signal intensity vental annual fissure
L1-2 and t12-L1 mild spondylosis with mild endplate irregularities at T12-L1
they've told me that I also have mild herniated and bulging disc's but nothing that would be causing my back so much pain that would warrant the pain that I'm in.

A little more back history, I had a bicylce accident 17 years ago, and had a TBI caused spinal issues as well, and had 3 subdural hematomas.
So now the spinal doctors want to do exploratory facet injections to see if it helps with pain, and if it does then they will do nerve blocks or a fuse my back with surgery, but if it doesnt help, the doctor said then they are at a loss at what to do.

My legs and feet go numb alot after sitting after just a few min, my hips after sitting no matter on what kind of surface hard or soft get sore, I have to reposistion for my back every 10-20 min to try and be comfortable for my back, my hands and neck and arms and legs also go numb and have a creepy crawly feeling to them as well, but the spinal doctors cant figure that out as well, have had many MRI's of the back brain and other than a seizure diagnosis my brain MRI came back clear but my seizure DX came back from a video from my wife not from the MRI.

So now that everything is laid out here's the main concern:
Should I do the facet injections?
Should I be concerned about anything?
Becoming parlyzed?

I've lived with this pain for 17 years and it's gotten worse every year since my accident now it's to the point where I havent been able to work since last sept (2011) and due to other med issues.
My injections are set up for july 2nd 2012
thoughts concerns please reply
thanks mike
michael thornton


  • Hi Mike. I don't know if I'll be of any help at all, but I will share what information I have from my son's experience with facet injections. He's had several over the past 4 years. He did not have any long-lasting complications. He did have extreme pain from the injections/needles going through the muscles in his back - muscle spasms, etc. This increased pain lasted for about 3 days - gradually decreasing until completely gone. In his case, after those three days he was completely pain free - that was GREAT, but, unfortunately the pain relief only lasted a week or so and then his back pain came back :( . Best of luck with everything - I hope the injections really help. I have heard of some folks who got long-lasting pain relief from the injections :)
  • contact the hospital and ask for sedation during your procedure ..i have had many spinal injections over the years and ..yes the fist time is a bit scary but if you have had some sedation you wont remember it any way .but don't for get to contact the hospital BEFORE you go so they can have someone to give you the sedation and look after you afterwards ..many don't bother with sedation but .i would always have it as i don't like being put under stress too.
    they did not work for me
    as for being paralysed ...i would not worry about that as the chances of it are almost 0
    a good TENS machine would be a good investment .i will send you a link
    rest for a few days post procedure and if they are going to work they will ..you wont have to wait weeks to see if they have done anything..
    last work
    good luck
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • backache99 thanks for the suggestion,
    sedationwill be in a spinal clinic, not a hospitala will not be put under sedation I never do well with sedation i seem to always wake up in the middle of the procedure lol and it bugs them as long as they numb me real good I'll be ok with it. I just worry since injections havent worked for anyone in my family my mother or my father brothers or sisters in their upper or lower back so I worry it'll be the same for me.
    I've tried TENS units and they've never brought me any relief and have tried hot and cold did one at a PT and at a chiro dont know if there is a difference between the types of TENS from PT or chiro but neither seemed to help I was just as sore and in pain as before, I've iced used muscle rubs, heat rubs, heat packs, rest, all as told to do strectes and nothing has helped and now I'm finally down to this and wondering where to go if this doesnt work.
    Thank you all for the help so far,
    michael thornton
  • I too have had numerous steroid injections (amongst other things!) - into my epidural space, facet joints, discs, sacro-iliac joint - you name it, I've probably had it.

    I definitely agree with Tony - if you have the offer of sedation, TAKE IT. It certainly helps if you are totally relaxed.

    The first ever injection I had was blimming marvellous! From about 1 week after the injection, I had about 4 months total pain relief. However, over the subsequent years, I suppose I've had about 9 in total. With each one, the pain relief was shorter lasting and the last one only gave me about one weeks 'subdued' pain at the most (but the pain didn't go completely unfortunately).

    Do phone the surgeon's secretary, if you require sedation, so that the anaesthetist knows well beforehand and can write it in your notes.

    I presume you have been told of the pro's and con's?

    In my opinion, and of course I'm no doctor, but I would always go for the conservative treatments first if possible before undergoing any surgery. Only because, once you've had surgery, there's no going back. And of course, if the injections work, then you've saved yourself extra pain & discomfort from having an operation. Treat having surgery as a final option after trying everything else first, but that's only my suggestion ok.

    I've never had any complications from having injections, by the way. My last injection was on 10 May, but it wasn't successful at all, and although they are now talking about doing bilateral sacro-iliac injections, I think I would have to decline this. Although totally random, I've having problems with my eyesight. The optician was a bit baffled by it and, after discussions, thinks it may be due to steroid 'deposits' from my previous injections over 3 years ago. She said that steroids can be deposited anywhere in the body. Now, I'm not saying this is definitely a fact, because I haven't been examined properly yet, but it may be useful to discuss any long-term possible side effects with the person doing your injections. It's just a thought.

    I really hope it goes well for you and that you get the desired pain relief.

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • i am out of suggestions .all i can do is wish you the best ..one thing the TENS link I sent you is not a normal TENS it has an external spinal cord stimulator and it ten time more effective then a normal TENS ..maybe you should have another look at the information i sent you ??..it sound like ..if your still in pain ......more involved intervention may be require ..like discectomy of even the dreaded fusion ....if you are offered any of these my advise would be to find out as much as you can and then decide if you think you may benefit from any of them ..again
    good luck
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • holyroller33hholyroller33 Posts: 5
    edited 07/06/2012 - 5:24 AM
    I had diagnostic injections that suggested facet joint pain. My doctor suggested RF rhizotomy instead of injection. After having it done I completely agree. It is very similar to facet joint block in terms of procedure but instead of steroid they use radio frequency to cause the nerve to die within a week or so following the procedure. 3 weeks later I am still pleased. Each time you do it the effects increase duration. The nerves grow back the speed of a human hair. And definitely go for sedation. It won't put you out, just relax you for several hours. After 2 1/2 years I finally found a doctor who will properly treat my back and my pain. I hope this helps some. Check YouTube for the procedures.
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