Hi all! Well - I was in a car accident sept 2003 and after PT and still having issues - finally got an mri in aug 2004 to determine I had herniated/ruptured a disc in the lumbar region.
Ok - so the doc offers this facet joint injections in Sept. I go ahead with them - got four (all around the disc). Now (after having to file a lawsuit against the guy who ran the red light), I am still wondering about further problems. I mean I am starting to have issues again - I work FT so I know that doesn't help. But this doc said I could have injections every 3 months - so technically I could have them again. But the question is..how long will I have to keep getting injections? Has anyone had them? How long did they last? Will I just continue to have problems? Will I eventually have to have surgery? I want to know this before talking to my attorney again.
Well, from what I can remember, I think the facet joint injections have steroids in them. So, it's important for them not to give you too much because that then can cause problems. How people react to the different injections varies from person to person. The first injection I had was an epidural steroid injection. That provided absolutely no relief. So they chose to do something else. For me, I had a medial branch block (medial branches feed into the facet joints) and they numbed those nerves around my facet joints. That diagnostic procedure was good for me and I hope to pursue the next step. However, I have read for some people that it doesn't work. It just depends on you as a person. From what I've read, a person should have no more than three injections every six months. However, if you have had three injections with no relief, there is no need to go further with those injections as they aren't helping any. The way I see it, this injection that I had yesterday, is only buying me time. I think that it buys me the time that I can go through physical therapy without hurting myself and even start exercising on a daily basis. I am usually not able to because I'm in so much pain but if this next procedure they have me doing works, then I should be able to at least continue my normal life. My fiance would tell you that these injections only avoid the inevitable (surgery) but as I wrote earlier, everyone is different. No two people react the same way to a procedure though sometimes they can. I hope what I've written has helped. -Anita
Yes, it sounds like too much if your doctor said you could have injections every three months! With steroids in the back, I've been told by all my doctors that the limit is one round a year, for your own safety. Unfortunately the first set of injections I had only lasted 6 months.
I'm in a similar situation to you - my car was rear-ended and that blow started all my back problems. But in my experience, it's going to take time to see what your eventual prognosis is.
Another set of injections could do the trick and heal the disc, but then they might not. That's the problem, is it takes so much time just to see if something is going to work. I would try conservative treatment before surgery, however, for obvious reasons.
My accident happened almost three years ago, and I still have not settled my case. I'm starting to lose hope that my back will ever get better.
hrtofluv: The four injections, were they all in one day? I had six in one day, all around my SI. That was okay, as they equaled one treatment.
You can have three in a year. But then, that might not even be safe. There is an online periodical which contains The Burton Report, that addresses issues with the validity of even using ESIs in the spine. But then, yours were facet joint injections, correct? I am not so sure about the stance on those.
ESI's are simply a diagnostic tool. Ask them. They are used to test whether or not your inflammation is temp or being caused by other factors. I had a doc from a back factory tell me that I could have them for the rest of my life. I ran from that place, literally.
Thank you all so much for your responses!!!
I am now re-considering this whole thing.
Heidi - my lawyer says I have to come in this week for depositions to close this case out. Yours has been 3 years???!!!! I can't wait that long to get reimbursed for these horrendous bills! How have you managed?
But I also do not want to rush closure on this - if in fact I could be faced with further medical bills down the road!
Hrto, I wouldn't close that case until you know absolutely for sure that you are 100% healed. If you think of the worst scenario (sorry to paint an ugly picture) of some of the things that the people on these boards are facing or dealing with, such as fusions, you potentially could be cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you still have problems today, there is no telling when they will be resolved. Is there such a thing as an atty closing the case with a settlement and future coverage of medical expenses that are incurred as a result of the accident? I may be barking up the wrong tree. In any event, the settlement would have to be huge before I severed all ties - especially while still experiencing back problems. What if (G*d forbid), things became complicated and you aren't able to work? Please don't let anyone rush you into something...
Oh, and thanks for the thread. I needed to read Betty's response again to set the wheels in motion and maybe get my husband to rethink his 5th upcoming injection in the space of 8 months...