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Posted by Pat G. on October 15, 2000 at 16:22:51:

In Reply to: facet joint pain posted by susan erickson on October 14, 2000 at 19:09:25:

: I am a 46 year old female and have had 3 back surgeries. The first was a failed fusion of L5/S1 using a
: titanium cage. The second was a repair of the first using more convention techniques. The 3rd was a
: cervical fusion. Now I am experiencing facet joint pain in my lower left back. It feels like theirs ground
: glass in thier with a constant burning sensation. I had a diagnostic steroid injection which gave me a lot
: of releif for about 3 months. The pain returned and is getting worse. However, the refuse to give me
: any further injections. Their reason is that at my age, multiple injections would result in more rapid
: deterioration of the joint. Any ideas of what to do from here.
Dear Susan: It sounds like you are experiencing my symptoms. I started having low back problems (L4-5, S1) when I was 43 yrs. old. I have had the facet pain and epidural injections, I have had a decompression laminectomy on L4-5 where they removed bone spurs, and they stated that I have arthritis in the facet joints. I just had neck fusion at C5-6 in June, 2000. I am about to turn 52 on Oct. 27th. I have never had these cages that I have read about on this site. I have many disk bulges, as well as spinal (and facet joint) arthritis. My spine looks like it has been compressed. I did a lot of physical work out here in the woods and I sat for 13 years doing secretarial work. I know all about that burning sensation and it almost sounds like you may have a pinched nerve or maybe a bone spur or little fragment in the facet joint hitting a nerve (ground glass feeling). I had all sorts of little bone fragments floating around in my neck before fusion, as well as a partially calcified herniated disk. The x-ray did not show all of these things going on in my neck, except a disk herniation.

I agree with Francesca as far as asking for better pain management. I have read on other pain sites that doctors don't always like to deal with chronic pain people. Doctors can't usually fix us and we just keep on coming back with pain. (Maybe it hurts their ego, who knows.) I was told to ask for a referral to a pain management specialist, as my doctor just didn't really have time (nor desire, I think) to help me. After I got my pain management specialist to write a report, I got a copy of it and found an interal medicine doctor (insurance company said they are better qualified for ongoing adult problems than a family doctor--also learned this on that other pain site [the name of which I don't know, lost our last computer with all the data about it]).

My prayers are with you. Take care, Pat G.

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