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Facet injections and playing"chase the pain"

MissaZMMissaZ Posts: 1
edited 05/20/2015 - 1:06 AM in Lower Back Pain
My initial complaint upon going to a pain doctor was 20+years of debilitating back pain along the level of my waist line on both sides. It would keep me from walking at times it got so severe. Diagnosis is osteoarthritis from L3-L5down ( not sure where it ends) the injections on the left were a miracle cure but it left me waiting weeks to do the right side and in that time I started to have pain in my right buttocks(never happened before). The injections on the right side were extremely pain to have done ( left side was a breeze). It exacerbated my right pain for about two weeks but then it calmed down and again, I have total pain relief. The problem was the buttocka pain has become worse and now has numbness traveling down my whole leg and pain behind my knee and down to my calf. It was recommended to do an SI injection as well as a trigger point injection. Immediately after the injection and for a couple of days I had relief but then it came back with a vengeance. I was just sobbing in pain the other night because it hurt so bad. What are the best treatment options if the SI joint is indeed the source of my pain? Never in my life have I had radiating pain. Why would my pain location and aymptoms change just because we "solved " the initial pain?


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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I had two left si injections which caused more pain than relief and now my Dr wants me to try the facet joint injections as well. I've had 3 lumbar and two si injections that did not help at all so I'm very leery about trying this facet injection
  • I think the bad thing about the injections is the hunting it takes to find that "right" spot to get lasting relief.

    When was the last time you had an MRI done? The reason I'm asking about the MRI is because that is how we ended up finding out why the injections were not having any real lasting relief in my lower back. Including a caudal epidural. 6 days was the max.

    I have been doing injections in my neck and lower back for a few years now. I've had pretty good success with the neck injections and have had the RF Ablation (burning of the nerves) done on both sides. That was what gave me the most relief. I'm due to do the RFA again now, but I am having to have a fusion surgery for my back pain (I'm discussing that in another area on this website - under Back/Neck Surgery as L4 L5 S1 Fusion Coming Soon). With that being said, my neck is on hold because my back pain taking priority at this point.

    Within the year between MRI's, I ended up re-herniating the same exact disc that I had previously had a micro-discectomy done at and the disc below is almost completely collapsed. Perhaps there are changes in your lower back that would show up on a new MRI that were not there previously. I'm certainly not a doctor by any means, but it sounds to me that you have more going on down there than just osteoarthritis.

    If it has been a while since your last MRI, it may be worth asking for a new one. Prior to my asking for a new MRI, we were discussing trying the RF Ablation or a spinal stimulator. The MRI showed that surgery was needed so therefore we couldn't proceed with an RF Ablation procedure, or a spinal stimulator. Apparently, they cannot implant a spinal stimulator if there is a need for a surgical procedure to be done to fix a known problem and RF Ablation would have done absolutely nothing.

    It really might be worth asking for a new MRI, in my honest opinion.
    Sept 11, 2009 L4/L5 Microdiscectomy
    April 12, 2013 C6/C7 ACDF
    May 27, 2015 L4/L5 ALIF with PLIF
    Too many cervical and lumbar injections to list, including RF Ablation C3-C6 on the right and left.
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