Thank you for having this forum available for peer to peer support for those of us dealing with chronic back pain. I live in the DC Metro area, 56 years, married woman who is active in the nonprofit world and I am somewhat new to this world after experiencing acute pain and spasms after a random twisting to reach something on my left side. I now understand that my issues were there already in my spine just lurking and that the constant hip pain I was experiencing for last 4 years was related, not isolated hip bursitis. I've been dealing with an onset of acute back and hip pain (mostly into right side) for about 2 months now and getting very despondent trying to get back to normal functioning. This has consumed my summer and left me tied to my home and chair with ice packs and pain medication.
Treated initially on my own with daily visits to chiropractor and extra Alieve and tramodol (already had a script for longstanding hip pain) and icing frequently, but pain was so acute my husband took vacation days to stay home and care for me for 2 weeks. My chiropractor sent me for nerve conduction studies and dermal somatosensory evoked potential of lower extremities which showed Right L5 radiculopathy. He also sent me for MRI of lumbar spine without contrast which showed bilateral facet joint hypertrophic changes of the L4-5 and L5- S1 levels but no sponddylolysis or spondylolisthesis. My chiropractor also referred me to non-surgical back pain specialist who recommended we begin a series of facet joint injections. By the time this was scheduled I was 5 weeks post-onset and had gotten back close to baseline (which still involved the chronic right side hip pain) and had recovered my activities of normal living, bathing, and driving, although not able to work a full day yet. New Dr. recommended a progressive series of treatments, somewhat diagnostic in purpose, beginning with facet joint injections followed by radiofrequency neurolysis.
So facet joint injections started. 2 treatments (4 injection sites) on right side with different medications completed spaced 2 days apart, no huge difference, but thinking that's fine: this will help prevent return to worst days in the future. Continuing chiropractic visits, although cut back to 2-3 times a week. Then next week 2 scheduled Facet injections treatments on my left side. First set of 4 injections on Monday reacted as before, no big change. Then next set following day on Tuesday. This one felt different, hurting going in at at top injection site (L5?) and getting off the table with difficulty I could feel my back wanting to go back into spasms which began again in earnest through the rest of the day. I was unable to move without extreme pain by end of the day and have been that way to this point (5days). Was told in follow up call to give the shots time to work. I am back at ground zero -- actually worse in terms of how widespread the pain and how much pain medication I'm taking to not be in agony, but have lost my daily living activities again.
So I'm here trying to understand more about facet joint injections and the range of things that can go wrong, how common is this, and what treatments others have had to respond to adverse effects. And then also learning more about this whole area of pain injections and all the options that get presented by the doctors from the point of view of patients who've undergone them.
Thank you for allowing me to participate here. I hope I can contribute as well as be benefitted by all your contributions here.