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Old 02-18-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
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Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

I have an appointment with the pain management doc tomorrow and am really hesitating on getting these injections that the specialist ordered. After reading up on the internet and here, I am not seeing any positive results from them and if there are any, they are very short lived. My problem seems to be coming from my facet joints where the MRI showed ( changes ) whatever that means, and arthritis. Does anybody know if epidurals work for this problem? And if not, what does? I poured over the internet, and every site I came across, it said that they really don't help in the long run and are short lived if they help at all. Thankyou for your help.

 
Old 02-18-2007, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Hi! For me the facet injections worked, but did not last long. I believe this is because the facet joints are small, and they cannot hold the steroid long. If your MRI shows, like mine did, arthritis and changes in the facets, I would get the shots to see if they work at all. These shots are often used to see if they work, and then you can get nerve burning (rhizotomy) at the facets for more long lasting relief. I had nerve burning at L3, L4 and L5 and this was what gave me the most pain control. It can last 6 months to a year. I have arthritis in my lumbar, sacroiliac and some in the neck, so for me I have to look for long term pain control. Good luck, let us know what you decide! Kera4

 
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Old 02-18-2007, 09:32 PM   #3
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Thankyou for your reply Kera. So I guess I should start with the injection and if the facets are the source of my problem, then maybe have the burning done ( I have heard of that before ). I am glad this helped you. I did read that the injection is also a way to narrow the source of the pain down, in other words, if it works, it's the facets, if it doesn't, the pain is coming from some other source. Did you have alot of pain or even more pain after the injection? I just like to be prepared.

 
Old 02-18-2007, 11:10 PM   #4
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Dear Kasey, I was sore for about 2 days after the facet injections, and by about the third or fourth day I felt pain relief. You are right about the injections helping to diagnose the problem. My MRI also showed a torn/bulging disc. I actually had 3 epidural shots near the disc first, which did not help my pain much. It was after this that my doctor said we should try the facet shots, since my MRI showed inflammation there. There was a big difference in pain relief. In some sense, it is a process of elimination. When you receive the injections you can ask for mild sedation. This makes them pretty easy. It is over quickly too-the shots only take about 15 minutes. The nerve burning is a bit longer-about 45 minutes. Take care, Kera4

 
Old 02-18-2007, 11:21 PM   #5
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Hi Kasey

I had Facet Joint injections in 5 places in my lower back.
They were very painful for me because the surgeoun didnt numb my back first so when i woke up i was in agony!
But i know it varies from one surgeon to another.

They are realy used as a diagnostic proceedure to see if it is the Facets that are the problem.
They have given me more flexibility in my back but havent done anything for the chronic pain i am in.

I hope they work for you.

Best wishes

 
Old 02-19-2007, 03:34 AM   #6
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

I had the procedure done 3 times - facet injections. The first 2 times I did experience pain relief. The last time he must have hit a nerve as they said I woke during the procedure screaming so that they had to further sedate. When it was over I was in excrutiating pain and couldn't walk and the severe pain continued for a week or so and then slightly tapered off, but not completely. I would not have this procedure done again, not only because they can cause further problems but cortisone is certainly not good for the body.

Last edited by music12; 02-19-2007 at 03:36 AM.

 
Old 02-19-2007, 06:24 AM   #7
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

I had my first facet injections (L5-S1 & L4-L5) about 3 weeks ago. I had previously had severl epidurals..which didn't really help. The facet injections weren't too bad...the Dr. numbed the area and then did the injections. The numbing med. really burned, but he said it would stop burning in 10 seconds, and it did...when he did the facet injections, there was a great deal of pressure feeling..which was uncomfortable. Afterwards, I had like a major charlie horse in my buttock & down my theigh...but it went away after a day. The shots helped my low back & leg pain - actually had several normal days...wow...that felt good, but unfortunately, the pain is returning. I also had the DDD and other problems in the lower back...they also found a small cyst in the facet joint...which I think they drained. I'm not sure what my next step will be, burning the nerve or because the proceedure only offered my about 50% relief, the Dr. may do a SI injection...to see if that if the caues of the pain..

I'd try the facet joint injections...they are a bit uncomfortable, but I have had much worse. Yes, the steroids can cause problems, I have adrenal insuffiency from some of the treatments I've had, but so far it is being handeled by cortef.
Hope you have a successful treatment & become pain free.

Sage

 
Old 02-19-2007, 11:28 AM   #8
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Sherry, thanks for your reply. I am sorry you are going through so much pain. Do you take something for it? Mine is daily, about 80% of the time. I have been to this pain doc before and she numbs and sedates her patients, I don't remember a thing and didn't feel a thing when I had two epidurals for a herniation. I am going to have one injection done because I need to atleast try and see if it helps me and what the cause of my pain is. Thanks so much, I will keep you all updated.

 
Old 02-19-2007, 11:32 AM   #9
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Ballady, what type of treatment do you now get for your pain? Also, how long did the pain relief last with the first two injections? That is terrible what you went through with the last one, I wouldn't go back either.

 
Old 02-19-2007, 11:37 AM   #10
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Sage, how long did your pain relief last? I see you said it is returning also, this seems to be the case with most people. Also, I have hypothryroidism, I didn't know what they used could be dangerous to me. I am wondering if it is worth it for me in the long run. I am going to talk to her today about all this. Isn't there another way to find out the cause rather than these injections? I read a cat scan is the best way to diagnose facet joint problems rather than an MRI like I had. Do you know anything about the testing for this?

 
Old 02-19-2007, 11:40 AM   #11
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

[QUOTE=Kasey443;2808641]Ballady, what type of treatment do you now get for your pain? Also, how long did the pain relief last with the first two injections? That is terrible what you went through with the last one, I wouldn't go back either.[/QUOTE]

Kasey, I had that procedure done a few years ago. 2 or 3 times a year I will have recurring pain but not as severe as that episode and it never lasts more than a week, so I take Ibuprofen, bathe in epsom salts, and use my cane until it subsides.

Some people have great success with the injections. If you opt to do it I would find someone who has been doing it for a long time and is respected in the field. I would also find someone who uses X-Ray during the procedure, to make sure they hit the right points (otherwise, it is hit and miss). Also, I would definitely not submit to the procedure unless sedated! In other words, do it at a pain center where you are given an IV and such and not in a doc's office.

 
Old 02-19-2007, 06:30 PM   #12
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Kasey, why can hypothyroidism be dangerous with steroids? I had facet injections 5 days ago at L4/5, L5/S1 under CT guidance but without sedation. The lower injection was painful but the L4/5 where I have a disc replacement was pretty excruciating! I don't have any relief yet but most of my back hurts anyway so it's hard to tell.
I have been very emotional,feel overwhelmed and angry. My hubby says it's the steroids and I tend to agree. I regret having them now and don't think I'll have any more.
I already have hormone imbalances and am borderline hypothyriod and have cortisol overload , but neither the referring doc nor the one giving the injections asked me any questions re' the rest of my health which they wouldn't have known about.
Has anyone else had an adverse reaction to cortisone injections?

 
Old 02-20-2007, 03:56 AM   #13
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

[QUOTE=cathydownunder;2809344]
Has anyone else had an adverse reaction to cortisone injections?[/QUOTE]

Cathy, sometimes the adverse reactions to cortisone are happening unbeknownst to us ... like later. For instance, cortisone can greatly affect our bones and even lead to an osteoporotic condition. Docs will tell you that this can happen only by injesting corisone, but there have been many cases that suggest otherwise.

Last edited by music12; 02-20-2007 at 03:57 AM.

 
Old 02-20-2007, 04:10 AM   #14
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

I had the facet injection in hopes that it is the cause of my lower back and leg pain. I've been in pain since I fell over 4 yrs. ago...and am trying so hard to track down the exact cause of the pain (yes, there is the DDD, arthritis, small herniations etc,,,,but if the PM Dr. and others feel there is a chance it's from the facet joints..hey, an injection seems easy enough, compared to surgery. I had pain relief for a couple of weeks, beginning a few days after the facet injection. It was lovely!! My pain meds. were far more effective, and I was spacing them our longer and longer. But, in the last several days the pain seems to be creeping back. I have an appt. on 3/29 to see what they want to do next....more facet injections/the nerve burning/or SI joint injections/or discogram...trial and error. The injections weren't pleasant, but I have a lot more pain that that every day...lots of pressure..that's what I remember the most...I was awake for the entire process...
For several years I was on low dose prednisone (5mg. per day), then I weaned off of that, then when I fell, I herniated C5/6, among other things, and that was the beginning of the steroid injections) After the ACDF my body just couldn't take the stress of the surgery and healing process and it kind of had a lot of problems....these hormones run our bodies...heart/emotions/hypoglycemia etc. etc. It took 1 1/2 yrs. to figure out that I had adrenal insuffiency....I am very lucky because it appears my adrenal glands are recovering...SLOWLY and eventually I may be able to wean off of the cortef. BUT, every time I have a steroid shot..that is not a good thing..this is part of what hurt my adrenal glands. So I am very careful and tell the doctors we have to be very careful.. Most people do not get this problem...but it is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful about how much steroids are put into our bodies.

Sorry this is so long, I run off at the keyboard...hope you have a good day.

Sage

 
Old 02-20-2007, 06:28 AM   #15
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Re: Do facet joint injections work at ALL?

Ballady, I just went to the pain doc to be checked. She is well known here for her injections and she does sedate and numb you, and use an xray machine, or i would not have it done. But, she now wants to do an SI injection, after checking me, she says my pain is in that area. I hate it when docs have different opinions, she is doing one injection to see if that helps first. Have you had these done?

 
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