Newbie and Facet joint injections

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suesueky
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 4/25/2011 3:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys I am a newbie here and hope that someone can give me some advice.

History
I have Disc degenerative disease and bulging discs at L3/4 and L4/5 (L4/5 disc nerve root compression causing extreme sciatica down my right leg) and L5/S1. I have suffered now for 3 and half years and been through Physiotherapy, acupuncture and traction all not helping only making me worse. I am on a lot of medication to help with the pain, but its still not helping. I have had an MRI scan which has given the above conclusion and also made my consultant refer me on to have surgery (still waiting for the appointment to come through for that) but in the mean time my consultant referred me onto a pain consultant who has said that he will give me facet joint injections to see if that helps with the pain and then if I get no pain relief from that he will give me the epidural injection. I am due to have the facet joint injection Friday 6th May and I am worried about how much it is going to hurt me and if I will be able to lie still while it is given.

I am asking for anyone out there who has had these injections to give me some advice and do you think I will be ok when it is given to me? Has anyone had good or bad outcomes from them?

Thank you so much guys in advance for the help

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/25/2011 4:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I've got the degeneration and bulges in the same places, and I've had the facets, epidurals and recently a caudal injection. You get a local anesthetic, so it's entirely bearable, and I'm old and pretty sensitive. It does hurt but it's mostly just pressure. Sometimes I say "ouch." Then I go home and put my ice bag on it for a little while. Some places have you stay on your stomach in a patient room with an ice pack for a few minutes.

These injections are not cures. They don't work for everyone, but may work for a year in others. They often take several days to start helping. The injections that helped the most were the one at L5/S1 and the caudal I had last week. They stopped the sciatica the best for me. I get pain and needle-like jabs in left hip, both legs and feet.

I did my homework and read what was going to be done. It helped me relax, understanding that this is not like surgery.



If you're totally freaked out you could ask for something for anxiety.
Alcie
 
 

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 4/25/2011 5:15 PM (GMT -6)   
If the doctor doing the injections is worth anything you should get enough local anesthetic so you feel very little of the procedure. Some doctors will also give you a mild sedative but this is a doctor by doctor thing and also will depend on where the procedure is done ...ie clinic or hospital.

I had the facet injections done and it did not hurt any worse, during the procedure, than a shot or blood draw does.

One thing to be aware of is that it is not uncommon to have an increase in pain the day after the procedure that may last a couple of days. This is due to having extra pressure from the medication which can irritate nerves. Within a few days though it should settle down and once that happens you will be able to tell if the injections have provided any relief. For most people if they have not noticed a decrease in their original pain within 2 weeks the injections were a bust.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16304
   Posted 4/26/2011 5:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi SueSueKy, welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am glad that you found us but sorry that you have to be here. It sounds like you have done the usual gambit that most of us have tried in an effort to get our pain level down. It really wears a person out trying to so many different things just to lessen our pain and then it not work.

My facet joints are shot at L5/S1 which is the very bottom. I am curious about you being sent to a surgeon for this problem and will be interested in seeing what the dr offers. I have had the facet joint injections and I did get some relief, not total relief but I was to the point I would have accepted anything. Of course, it was not permanent either, none of these procedures and injections are permanent. I was given IV light sedation when my injections were done. It was a little painful, nothing I could not stand but I was aware of the pain. Would I have the injections without sedation, absolutely not. Be sure to find out if the dr offers sedation before your appt is set. I do hope this will give you some relief. Mine did not last but a few months and I opted not to repeat them.

Jim1969 gave you some good tips too about the injections.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

suesueky
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 4/26/2011 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys thank you so much for the great welcome and for sharing your experiences and advice with me, its so nice to speak to people who have been through what I am going through.

Alcie- thanks for the ice idea, I will have some ready in the freezer for when I get home. I don't know yet if this injection will help me, the consultant is trying anything at the moment I think while I am waiting for the surgery to my disc. I will phone though and ask about sedation as I do not like needles at the best of times. Good news that you have got some pain relief for the L5/S1 from the caudal injection. This is the second injection that they are thinking of giving me if the facet ones dont work.

Jim 1969 - thank you for the advice, its nice to hear how other people have got on with these injections as it gives me an insight into what to expect after and as it is being carried out. I will make sure though that I keep a note of how it is helping or not helping me for when I go back for my follow up appointment. I really hope the pain does not increase too much as I am finding it so hard at the moment to cope as it is.

Straydog - thank you for being so welcoming, I have suffered for so long now that I would try anything to ease the pain and you are right it does wear you down over the years. I am just so happy that I have found a forum with people who are going through the same as me. Sorry to hear you are suffering with facet joints issues, I hope they can sort something out for you soon to ease the pain.
The surgery I am going in for is to remove part of my disc and some of the bone (due to L4/5 disc nerve root compression causing extreme sciatica down my right leg)- well thats what I have been told. My current consultant (not the one doing the surgery) has said that he unsure what type of operation they will do on me, open, micro or keyhole surgery ( depending on which one is done also alters the time of recovery etc). I think the facet joint injections are being done to see if they can give me some relief as a first step and if not they will give me the epidural injections.

Thanks again guys for the help, you are brillant. I do feel a little more settled about it now.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/26/2011 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   
A couple more things I have found helpful: I have a back brace I use when I have to be in a car more than an hour or sit in a straight back chair. My neurosurgeon prescribed it, but I suspect some of the OTC ones from medical supply houses are fine too, since the one I ws given was not specially made! My rheumatologist says not to use it because it causes weak back muscles. I have a whole bunch of exercises I do that he presecribed - which might help you too, after consulting with your docs. You can find all sorts online, with videos.

Getting the injections can be helpful to the docs who do surgery too. It makes it easier to pinpoint the real problem, not just what looks like the problem on MRI. I have several points that look bad on MRI at L2-4, but L2/L3 injections have not been helpful.

Take the ice bag with you if you have any drive at all. I have an hour's drive home, and the tiny ice bag they give me is only good for a few minutes. I have a nice one from a medical supply house that's got thin, soft material on the outside. It holds about a quart and lasts maybe 4 hours. Alternative: carry with you one of the larger chemical ice packs from the pharmacy or grocery store.

I don't want surgery right now if I can function without it. I have a whole summer of driving a farm tractor around doing the mowing. I can hire help, and then I can pay for the repairs to the mower deck (last year $1000). In another year, when the baby is walking, my DIL, who grew up on a farm, will be able to do the easy parts.
Alcie
 
 

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 4/26/2011 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
You'll need to ice the injection site for 20 minutes, every so often for the first 24 hours...
you'll be sore from the injections and if you work you might want to ask for a day or two off from work.
Call and find out if they are giving you sedation as you'll not be able to eat or drink after midnight the
day before the injections, most of the injections I've had have all been done under sedation, make
sure to drink plenty of water when you return home and you might need someone to drive you there and back
if they give you sedation....make sure to ask, as it'll delay/cancel your procedure if you fail to follow
the instructions clearly...other than that you be sore....Hope you can get some relief...
well wishes and keep us posted as how things go...
**********************************************
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...
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purplereading
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 4/26/2011 3:20 PM (GMT -6)   
The injections I have had are done like this, for you information and to know what to expect. I am taken to a small room with a CT and asked to liedown face down on the small carrier table that goes in and out of the CT. The nurse pulls up my shirt and puts a towel over the waist of my pants, and then pulls them down a few inches to give the dr. a clean field for the injections (mine are L5 S1 also) Then she cleans the are with betadine and wipes it dry with alcohol. Then I am put in and out of the ct while the dr watched with the xray tech. Then he comes back to me and loads a syringe with xylocaine, or a local anesthetic. He then goes to my back and gives me injections up and down where he intends to inject the facets. My dr is not particularly caring. He says "Stick and burn" and moves from site to site, wiping up the excess as he goes. Then you go back to the ct, and then he comes back out and puts in the needles where he will inject the facet jt. As he inserts these, he may hit a nerve and your foot could jerk or you feel some weird neuropathy like sensations in legs, etc. After needle placement it is back to the CT, and then he comes back and if they are not placed exactly where he wants them he adjusts them, maybe just pointing them a little differentlly, and back to CT when they are where he wants them, he comes back and goes from needle to needle and inserts the meds . When finished, he pulls the needle and puts a bandaid on each site, you are to leave on for 24 hours. You are then helped to your feet. MAKE sure your legs are not numb and you can stand. My friend actually had legs go so numb she could not stand they put her in a wheel chair, and sent her home. They were not concerned, said it would go away. She awoke at 3aam still could not walk and was freaked out, but when she called the dr. he was mad, and said it would go away. It was gone later when she awoke for the day. Just gave you this run through so you would know what it was like. Some drs make it more of a sterile procedure, and some insert an iv and give versed. Some will also have a patient take a valium or pain pill an hour before the procedure. That part is individualized. Good luck, when it is over, you will be one of us that knows it is not really that bad.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16304
   Posted 4/26/2011 9:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, I have not had the experience of PurpleReading's had and very glad not to have. I have not heard of it being done under a CT either. Most drs do these injections under guided flouroscopy(spelled that one wrong) and I did not have the multiple sticks like she said either. Her's sound quite barbaric compared to how my dr did his injections. Glad I am not a patient of her drs thats for sure, lol.

Anyway, try not to get upset it will not help if you do. As most of us have said it it tolerable with medication.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/29/2011 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello suesueky!

It looks like you are another new member, who has gotten past my "Welcome Radar" tongue

Just how does that happen! rolleyes Well..I wanted to make sure to Welcome you!....and invite you to come back and visit us anytime!

I too suffer from DDD, and in fact, had a double lumbar fusion surgery back a year ago this last March. While I claim some success with it, I'm afraid it didn't cure all of my pain.

Unfortunately, it looks as though if, I will be on medication the rest of my life. "Bummer" shakehead

I have had the Epidural injections and have had both success and then again, not much of a positive result from a few of them. Cant help you with the "facet" injection, but it looks like several members here have given good responses to you.

When you receive your injection, you might ask for a sedative, as this can help quite a bit.

Again, Welcome and Enjoy the forum!

SE wink
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

NiNi53
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 4/30/2011 2:26 PM (GMT -6)   
just wanted to let you know that after being with a pain mgt. doc for over a year, this was back in2007, this was a doc who spent no time at all to listen to what was going on. it was fine until i fell and had a new injury, this new injury (which turned out to be neuropthy), all this doc did was to continue the same meds., the pain in my lower right leg and foot was unbearable it felt like it was burning. after overdosing accidently on my meds to rid the pain i changed doctors. my first  visit to the new doc i received the first of three shots, by the third shot the burning was gone, my foot is numb and always will be but i prefer numbness to the burning of my leg., so it might hurt some, but the result is well worth it in my opinion. good luck
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

suesueky
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 4/30/2011 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks again guys for being here and sharing your experiences with me, I do feel a bit more relaxed about it all (well I am saying that now, but I am sure on Thursday night and Friday morning I will be a nervous wreck) I have been trying to get hold of my consultant to ask about having a sedative, but no one answers the phone. Oh well I will try again on Tuesday, fingerscrossed I will get through then. My pain levels are high at the moment and I have been told by my doctor to increase some of my meds to help with the pain. Well I hope you all are having a better time of it pain wise that is guys and managing to get some sleep (((((((hugs)))))))
Suesueky

Disc degenerative disease, L3/4 board disc bulge, L4/5 board disc bulge with significant nerve root compression on right L5 nerve root and also DDD at L5/S1. I also have an enlarged uterus with fibroids and have been a sufferer of psoriasis now for about 8 years.
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