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First time Lumbar Facet Joint Injections

edited 11/23/2015 - 10:35 PM in Spinal Injections
Hi Everybody, (facet joint injection results)
I am new here, but have been reading the forums for months. (Hopefully, this is in the right place!)

I am a 27 y.o. female, non-smoker, healthy, smaller to average build, high pain& med tolerance, and I (THINK) I hurt my back doing an intense circuit of mountain climbers, regular push-ups, and burpees around June of this year. My back is very flexible--I am easily able to do a human pretzel without stretching or a back bend. I figured I pulled a muscle because these were movements that I did often, but as time progressed, I realize that I was hurting more and with everyday activities. In August, my lower back--sometimes radiating beginning on my left side--would ache and feel pain while standing for more than 15-minutes, sitting for more than 30 or 45, doing the dishes, anything active. Often, the pain would be in my lower back and my muscles in my upper back would start to strain and cause me pain. This is the best way I know how to describe it. My parents both have "bad backs" that have given them trouble over the years, but not until they were much older than 27. I figured if I had inherited the bad back genes, it wouldn't just show up suddenly...right?

Last week, I finally had L3-4 and L5 facet joint injections on my left side after pain for months, stopping excersizing, months of PT, a ton of Motrin, and sometimes muscle relaxers. My MRI showed mild inflammation in L3,4,5,& SI, but the physiatrist and ortho surgeon said everything looked like normal "wear and tear"--other than that, aside from the fact that I have slight scoliosis (left side taller than right). I had only local anesthesia with my injections. My lower back has been pain free since then, but my upper back muscles are spasming more than ever before. I'm not sure if this is a healing process or side effect or if it's even common? I've also noticed that after the inflammation mess and steroids in the injection, I have been super irritable along with the muscle spasms. I have a follow up 12/1.

Anyone's stories & similar experiences would be enormously appreciated!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
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  • Hi Callie,

    My symptoms are similar to yours, although I am older (mid forties) and my disc herniation was, I think, caused by an accident I had on my bike 12 months ago. I have also had the first facet joint injections, last week in fact. In addition to the lower back pain, I also had muscle spasms further up the back, particularly if I had been sitting for extended periods of time, and also a jarring or shooting pain in the lumbar region when I walked at times, a bit like when you step down from a curb unexpectedly.

    After the first of the facet injections I am getting the muscle aches further up my back, although not the spasms.

    Formally writing about my treatment, my pain consultant wrote: ''This is an update of the MRI lumbar sacral spine. It shows
    Scheuermann’s disease in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine.
    There are degenerative disc changes at L5/S1 with disc herniation and
    impingement on the left sided exiting nerve root'

    I am schedule to have two facet joint injections, one this month and one
    next month. Up till now, and like you, reatment has been non-invasive, ie
    acupuncture, (endless) physio, dry needling, pain killers (co-codomol,
    opiates, amitripylene), which have all been ineffective.

    Bike accident (April 2015)
    Various ineffective conservative treatments - acupuncture, soft tissue massage, dry needling, Gabepentin (2015)
    Facet joint injections (March 2016)
    Pregabelin (April 2016)
    Spinal Nerve Root Block injections (June 2016)
  • Hello Callie,
    I am 32 years old. I recently did my MRI, and as diagnosed with minor disc bulge in L4-5 and L5-S1. I also have a minor arthritis on the facet joint joints of L1,2,3,4 and 5. I dont have any pain going down to my legs or buttocks. i have very dull pain in my lower back which gets better when I do my stretching. I got the problem from lifting heavy weights in the gym specially while doing dead lifts.

    How are you feeling right now after injections at facet joints. Did you have the same problem I mean were you diagnosed with facet joint arthritis.
    I am just really worried about the future.
    Please guide.
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