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Facet Injection(s) scheduled, would you have the fentanyl with it?



  • Yes, you do have to lay on your stomach. When I had my facet joint injections and ESIs, I was able to get kind of up on my elbows to keep my head from turning too much. But when I had the nerve block, they required that I lay flat and keep my head to one side for the whole thing. I never thought about it and that's very, very difficult for me because of my 3-level fusion and hardware. My neck hurt like crazy for a couple of weeks afterwards. Owwy.

  • Call Patient Administration at the hospital/clinic where you are having the procedure. Many places have escort services available or the phone number for those services.

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  • Hi "C",

    Really? Are you referring to escorts like medical taxi cab? This info might not help me as I live so far from the big city that I need to take a ferry boat to get there. It will be an all day ordeal for me - in more ways than one. I wonder... if I can bring my favorite pillow and lay on it. Probably would not be allowed. Oh well. The things we do in the quest to rid ourselves of constant pain.

  • The doctor will position you in order to gain the best access to the area he wants to inject and in a way that extends the distance between the vertebrae as much as possible. In the best of all possible worlds the procedure would be done on a massage table with an opening for your face. The PM doc that gives me lumbar injections does essentially the same thing, flat on face with a pillow under my stomach to hyper-extend the lumbar spine and allow him maximum access to his work space.

    On the upside, I don't remember that the injections took nearly as long as the ablations.

  • In many places, the American Red Cross has volunteers that do nothing but provide escort and transportation for patients. If they have that in your area, the Patient Administration folks should know. Also if there's an ARC office in your town, they might know too.

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  • Hi Dee,

    I had two injections one was done with just a local and the doctor used a flouroscope for guidance but did also look at my MRI. This first injection was very painful to me not sure if local did not help or what but it was so painful it was hard to breathe on the table and I said to myself never going to have that done again unless they give me something prior for pain and then I had to drive home !! The first shot seemed to make things worse and asked the doctor for pain medication (fentanyl) with second and he did not do this at his office so I immediately changed doctors. The second injection was done as an outpaitient at the hospital and the fentanyl they gave me helped so much and plus I was a nervous wreck. I had no pain from the injection but did not help me with my problems but very glad I changed doctors. I guess it is your choice but for me having the medication helped a lot ! Best of Luck and let me know how it goes..Corina
  • Thanks Rina for the input. There is such a variation on how folks experience facet injections. I wonder if it is part the doctor and part our necks...

    I'm getting confused and nervous, but am still thankful for everyone's input!

    I know I am scheduled for a facet injection in two days, but what some of you describe sounds more like the awful cortizone injections I've had before.

    I remember about five years ago having a cortizone injection where I was knocked out fast asleep. I needed a driver and it was an ordeal. It did not help. Then, back I went a month later as planned for a second one and they knocked me out again, but horrors of horrors, I sort of woke up and felt the darn needle digging around while the doc felt for a good spot. It so traumatized me that I never went back for the third one. Plus it did not help.

    At least the facet injections are supposed to be diagnostic and are more likely to be helpful even if for a short time. I sure hope it is as easy as some say cuz I am not up for another needle digging for a good spot! At this point, I am doing it to make my doctors happy and hoping that by some miracle it helps diagnose why I am still in pain and if it helps remove a bit of pain, well I will happily take it!

    Thanks again,
  • Facet injections are both a treatment and a test balloon. You can't have an ablation without trying an injection first, which is why it's sort of diagnostic, but if the injection works they're not going to do an ablation, because insurance won't pay for it. This is where I say again that we have sacrificed control over our own personal health to a rubber stamp at an orange fuccilley. And don't forget that while you and your employer are paying them for your policy, they are also collecting funds from the providers for malpractice coverage.

    Don't drop the soap!

  • Thanks again for the input. After talking with all of you and a few others, I decided to go natural and skipped the fentynal. The biggest reason was no ride home and I figured that I'm not too afraid of needles, so maybe I'd be okay. I was.

    It was not too bad. No cake walk, but knowing what to expect made it do-able. I received half a dozen lidocaine injections to numb things. Then while the xray thing was hooked up, the doctor guided where to inject based it and what we'd talked about. He injected three cortisone type injections in from C2 down to C5.

    Sadly, I had pain relief for only two hours. I was told that is typical. I was happy to have the pain at the top of my shoulder go away too as I think that showed the nerve is the cause. I'm supposed to meet with the doctor again to discuss what is next and to better understand what he thinks is going on in my neck now.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
  • The initial pain relief could be from the lidocaine; it's probably too early for you to have relief due to the procedure.

    (Kitchen designer, not medical professional, all opinions are my own and not based in medical education.)

    In fact, the pain you got after 2 hours may actually be the pain from the procedure.

    Good news: if the injections really don't help, that makes you eligible for ablation, which, all things being equal, can last six months or a year. Keep us posted and good luck!


    (Again, kitchen designer, not medical professional, all opinions are my own and not based in medical education.)
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