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How Many Times

Quick question - given how steroids can cause damage long term, how long can a person continue getting Facet Joint Injections before a fusion needs to be done? I'm asking to see how long most people went with getting the injections before having to move to a surgical repair.

I've had roughly 15-20 Facet Joint Injections (FJI) over the past several years along with a couple rounds of RFA. RFA did not provide me with relief. My last FJI was in the beginning of December. I'm already back to having considerable pain, can't stand long at all before having to sit and can't sleep well without medicating the crap out of myself. The last thing I want is more surgery, but I'm beginning to wonder if I am looking down the barrel of another fusion procedure.

Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2


  • Wow, I definitely didn't have 15-20 but probably more like 10-12 before I did the fusion. However, my injections were a combo of disc injections, ESI and SI joint. Are all your injections in the exact same place? I'd worry about bone density if I were you and ask your physician why you are continuing with them if they aren't effective anymore? Seems the risk outweighs the benefit to me. But I'm not a physician.

    Hang in there, Keith
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Hey Sarah,

    They usually alternate locations between L2 through L4. This last time, he gave me shots into the fusion area itself (L4-S1). He said it would hurt more than usual (and he was right). I usually get a few months relief from the injections but not this time. The last injection was in December and I'm already back to where I was. It's going to be a long six months before I can get another round! I have thought of asking for another MRI to see what's going on. My last MRI was three years ago.

    I'm certainly not in any hurry to have another fusion but at some point I need to know when the damage from the steroids is more detrimental than going through the fusion process. I just hope 2015 works out better than 2014 ended!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I cannot count the number of injections I had on my lower back before it is what they believe caused my osteomylitis. Misuse of steroids. Too much of a good thing can cause all kinds of bad things. This is my opinion but to me they were only a band-aid , great for short term relief but not long term. I'm not saying they don't work but for me only short term. Each of us has separate issues that require different care. I wish I had would with the fusion instead of putting my body thru what I did. My mother required steroids almost monthly for the last 5 years of her life which left her bones full of holes , no choice she had emphysema which in turn caused a thoracic spine burst that could not be fixed because she would of never survived the surgery with her breathing issues. Within weeks of the burst she passed away. Internal bleeding caused by the burst. Steroids are a great drug and did get me thru some horrible flare-ups but too much of a good thing had its repercussions on my body. That is my experience and everyone is different. Good luck
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