Hi I'm 4 months post microdiscectomy and still struggling with pain when sitting (different pains that vary between a burning back and numb upper buttock). My sciatic nerve is tight if I try and strech my leg and I had a recent MRI which shows the disc is now OK. The surgeon is very blase about the scar tissue and says it may be that sticking to nerve, if it is then there is nothing he can do and I'll have to live with it. He also says it may be a facet joint problem, but with no real evidence and suggests a cortizone injection to rule that out. My question is have any of you had facet joint injections and if so how was it. I've made myself worse having the micro discectomy and don't want to repeat that mistake with an injection that may be needless.
Many thanks in advance - this is such a helpful board with lots of good people.
At what level was your discectomy? Did the surgeon see scar tissue on the MRI or was it thrown out as a possibility of why you are still in pain?
Let me ask you this about the pain: is the pain of the same quality as what you had prior to surgery? Do you feel like you did prior to surgery (just as though the surgery never took place) or is it different? Does one type of movement or activity make it better or worse?
Are you taking one of the so-called nerve pain drugs like neurontin or Lyrica?
Often when pain remain post surgery, an injection will be given to see if there is still some inflammation that is pressing on the nerve. That is often worthwhile. Regarding facet joint injections...does the MRI show degenerative changes to the facet? It may be that the surgeon is thinking that an injection may soothe that whole area...but there are some diagnostic facet injections that are done specifically to rule in or rule out problems...so you'd want to find out specifically what are his intentions. Does he send you to a PM doc for the injections?
As far as diagnostic injections on the facet joints, if they are necessary, meaning if there is something showing up in an MRI regarding your facet joints, I'd have him skip the cortisone and just do the anesthetic only injections for diagnostics.
As teri suggests though, I'd find out just why he wants to do injections there first.
I have a medial branch block, in which the drs inject to see if the facet joints are the cause of the problem....only a diagnostic test...did not hurt any more the the normal transforamal steroid injections...but I was sore for about a week after...no real pain though