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  • Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

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    Old 10-15-2007, 08:32 AM   #1
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    Question Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    Hi all,

    I posted this question in another area and had no response so please help???
    I am scared because nothing is feeling any better! I really dispise the thought of anymore surgeries because I tend to have some complications from anesthesia though minor they do happen. Also I am in school and really should wait untill Dec when the semester is over if I can. Please help!!!

    A breif history...

    I just finished a 3 year long WC case that involved having 4 surgeries to my left arm. I was in PM and did the whole detox of pain meds and all that. I never abused them but still had to do a nasty taper to get off them.

    I was doing pretty good and then just before the case closed a woman pulled out in fromnt of me while I was driving. I was going 50 MPH and had little time to stop because she came from around a big tuck so I did not see her untill the last second. She was sited as being at fault.

    Anyway this happened in July of this year. So I have had many x-rays and an MRI of the c-spine that shows 3 bulging discs, and compressed nerves,
    I have constant spasms in my neck and constant burning and numbness and tingling on my neck and down my back in the scapula area. I also have other symptoms.

    I saw a neuro and he said that if I was not so young, I am 37, he would want to do a fusion 3 level. So he suggested and ESI and if that did not help to consider a foraminotmy.

    I am in PM again and have since had an oral dose of 6 days of steroids an ESI, and some trigger point injections and the PM has mentioned a Facet block. The neuro has explained that the nerves are compressed and need to be released with the foraminotomy if the other things do not work.

    [COLOR="blue"]So my question is Has anyone had a facet block??? Does it work because I feel that it is a band-aid to the problem.

    Has anyone had the foraminotomy in the cervical area??? How was the pain after and what was the recovery time. Do you feel you were better after the surgery??? Does this surgery compromise the structural stability of the cervicle spine?[/COLOR]

    The PM has also mentioned that a MRI of the shoulder and thoracic area may be needed and I would not make any surgery decisions untill those tests were done and assessed by the neuro.
    I also had an EMG and the PM doc stated the nerve stuff going on was related to compression.

    I don't walk the same any more and my left arm is weak sometimes. I have terrible burning pain and spasams in my neck. The Pain meds do not really help. I am very opiate tolerant.

    I am also a recovering addict and alcoholic. I just celebrated 3 years last month. I had almost 4 years and relapsed for about 60 days and I now now that recovery is the way to go. Anyway I hate taking the pain meds but I will not suffer either.

    I do not feel as though I am getting better!!! Only worse. The symptoms are getting more painful. I am a student in school and I actually had to drop my second class because I could not sit for that many hours a day.

    Today I am calling to leave a message with the neuros office and let him know how I feel because I do not have another appointment with him untill Nov. 2.

    I was supposed to see the PM last Thurs, but they canceled all their appointments due to a family emergency, so I have yet to talk to the PM abou how I feel. I will be making another appointment today.

    [COLOR="Blue"]Anyone who has had these procedures please share your experiences with me!!![/COLOR]

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    Old 10-15-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
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    Re: Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    I have had a lumbar facet block. It is done to verify that you pain is from this level and then they inject steroids. Personally, I did not have any relief from this at all but anything is worth a try in my opinion. It is better than surgery and it help will them determine if the pain is coming from this area.

    As far as the foraminotomy in the cervical area, I have no clue.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Old 10-15-2007, 11:55 AM   #3
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    Re: Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    my doc told me that the esi for the facets would just identify the problems. He said it would give me a day or two of relief but was really just a tool to make sure that was the problem at hand. bulging disc, arthritis don't always cause pain so that is why the test is done usually. Also sometimes it actually does give relief for a while for some. Jason

    Old 10-15-2007, 02:29 PM   #4
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    Re: Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    Hello Again,

    I actually had an ESI an it did not really help. Nothing seems to help!! The facet block has steroids and a numbing med in it I think. If I understand what I read. i am willing to try it before a surgery.

    I hope more people will tell there stories. I know this is the back problem forum, but I know they do the foraminotomy in the lumbar region as well.


    Old 10-16-2007, 02:30 PM   #5
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    Re: Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    Chrissy, I'm sorry to say this, but I think everything you mentioned...facet blocks, etc. are only a band-aid. You've got a lot going on in your back,including compressed nerves. Those nerves will eventually become permanently damaged and you will have pain from that forever. I have heard of many people who have had fusions and they are younger than you are, so I tend to wonder what that doctor is thinking.

    I think you would be well served by getting a second and even a third opinion to be sure that you're getting the right information. While you are young to have to go through this, at least your youth will work for you in that you will heal faster than some of us old folks. IF surgery is indeed the answer and you won't know that for sure until more doctors tell you what kind of surgery is needed. Seeing several doctors will also allow you to make comparisons and be able to pick the doctor who suits you best and who inspires you to trust him. Ask questions about how he would manage your post-surgical pain as well.

    I wish you lots of luck and hope things go well for you; those nerves are getting angrier by the day, and tho surgery is rough and there are never guarantees, damaged nerves are guaranteed to last forever.

    You might want to look for an orthopedic spine ortho with extensive training in neurosurgery. He has a fellowship and limits his practice to the spine only.

    Please stay in touch with us.

    2 lami's, 3 fusions
    bone spur removal
    cerv. fusion, 1 level
    morphine pump

    Old 10-16-2007, 04:40 PM   #6
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    Re: Questions about Facet Block Inj. & Foraminotomy surgery? Please respond!

    Thanks everyone,

    I really do feel that these injections are just a band-aid. I had a few in my arm.

    I also understand that they are used diagnostically. i have so many symptoms that it is hard to know exactly what is going on.

    I know for sure that I have compressed spinal nerves at C3-4 through5-6

    I can tell that I have things going on in the thoracic area and possibly in my shoulder as well.

    Today when I saw the PM I discussed the outcome of the last trigger points and we did seem to localize the problem more so I did another round. He injected 5 spots today. We discussed that if the pain after these injections persists that we will do aN MRI of the areas we discused. At that time I will re-acess my situation.

    I have already discussed with my Neuro who I really like and clicked with. That he and I both think that we can go with the foraminotomy and try to release the compression at those levels. Later in life we will be looking at the fusion.

    As for the PM I really trust him. He was my doctor all through the last part of my WC case for my arm. He, and a nurse case manager for WC, were so good about getting to the source of my problems. I had complained so long about the issues in my elbow to the WC and they did not listen for almost 2 years. I started complaining about the pain in my elbow after I had already had 2 surgeries on that arm. Anyway it was not until seeing this PM that the issues got diagnosed right and then I had a 4 surery and ...better not great.

    Anyway I do trus the docs I am currently seeing, BUT I am only willing to go through this for so long. This also has to do with a car accident that I have gotten an attorney for so I need to be and I am willing to go through the process of the least aggressive things befpre resorting to surgery.

    I appreciate every thing evryone has shared and Hope that more people share.


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