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  • Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

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    Old 03-12-2005, 10:09 AM   #1
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Has anyone had medial branch blocks and then had the nerves burnt with any pain relief in cervical spine.
    I had these done last year and they didn't take away my pain, also epidural steroid injections with no relief. I had a ACDF of C5/6 6/7 Nov. 29/04 and a whiplash car accident 6 weeks after surgery (not my fault). Surgery was for bulging discs. bone spurs, arthritis and degeneration.
    The PM doc. says that now I have a "new neck" because of surgery and the car accident and thinks maybe the medial branch blocks will work this time. Has anyone had these done under similiar circumstances and got any relief.
    Thanks in advance.
    Lyn in Michigan

     
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    Old 03-15-2005, 10:54 AM   #2
    RAZOR Z
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Anyone have experience with these?

     
    Old 03-17-2005, 04:03 PM   #3
    Ander
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Good luck tomorrow! Please let us know how the procedure goes. I hope so much that you get some relief.

     
    Old 03-17-2005, 11:11 PM   #4
    Dimples5
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Lyn~
    I just had a cervical foraminal nerve block done on Monday the 15th on C6/7, and so far, it seems to have helped my pain quite a bit. I still have numbness and some burning pain in my left hand, arm, and shoulder at times (especially later in the day). I also still have burning pain in mid-back area on right side, along with many other of my symptoms I had before the injection;however, these symptoms have decreased in severity, at least for now. I am only about 80 hours away from the procedure, so I don't know how long this will last, but I am thankful for even this much relief, because my pain levels have been up in the 6-8's constantly over the last month or so. I feel like a different person than I did prior to the injection.

    At this time, I don't know whether I will have the nerves burned yet because this block was dianostic for me as well as pain management. Even though I had decompression surgery a year and a half ago, the doctors at this clinic found nerve compression. I am waiting for results from the complete workup until a decision on what to do next is made.

    From Ander's post, am I to assume that you are having the block done on the 19th? If so, I wish you the best of luck, and pray that it gives you as much relief and more than mine has given me and that yours may be permanent.

    Pat

    Last edited by Dimples5; 03-17-2005 at 11:12 PM.

     
    Old 03-18-2005, 10:34 AM   #5
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Ander and Dimples 5

    Thank you so much for your posts. I had my medial branch block done early this morning. They did my left side only. Both of my shoulders, neck and head ache constantly on a pain level of at least 8. On my left side I have an arm ache that radiates down into my whole hand. If I am on the computer or holding the phone, my hand goes completely numb and it feels cold compared to my right hand. I had my surgery on C5/6 6/7 ACDF Nov. 29/03 and it didn't take away any of the pain and have had other medial branch blocks, occipital nerve block and 3 sets of steroid injections and still had the pain. They are now saying that my pain is myofascial so they injected the needles into my facet joints today. I am really for the first time in a long time (5 yrs.) a bit hopeful as right away after I came out of the procedure, the pain wasn't nearly as bad. Yes a numb feeling like "Dimples" feels but is only a test block that will come out today just like getting your mouth frozen at the dentist. I can actually still feel the right side of my face/head throbbing and the left is "not". When I stretch out my shoulders on the right it hurts like hell and the left feels a lot better!!!!!!!!! What will happen now is next Thursday they will do the same spots (they did the injections on C3/4 & 5.). I have found out recently that they thought C3/4 were degenerating so I thought it was very smart of the pain clinic doc. to do those spots. If it helps the pain next week, then I will make an appt. to go back in and under radio frequency they will then burn the nerves. My doctor had ordered that both sides be done at once and they said that they never do that, just one side at a time. Then I will have to start over again with the right side. It will take a while, but if I can see the "light at the end of the tunnel" so to speak, then I can get through it. What is another couple of months when I have been in this pain for so long.
    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts!!!!
    Dimples, can you explain your procedure to me and tell me what the difference is between my treatment and yours.
    Thanks again everyone.
    Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 03-18-2005, 09:52 PM   #6
    Dimples5
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Lyn~I'm glad your block is giving you a little relief. I hope it continues.

    After being questioned, examined, and CT scanned so they would "know precisely where to place the needles for the injection", I was told to lay on my back on a very thin table while several doctors looked at my neck and upper back under fluoroscope and had discussions among themselves. Then I was given Versed by IV to relax me and was told it would keep me from experiencing pain and remembering the procedure. Not so. They had me lay on my right side and they did the injection through the front, left side of my neck, which surprised me. I believed that they would approach from the back as they had for my 3 previous cervical steroid epidurals. I was then very painfully aware of a deep burning sensation running from the injection site down my left arm. I felt this two more times before they finished. When I moaned in pain, the doc kept asking me if I felt that. He sounded as if he couldn't believe it, especially by the third moan.

    After the injection, I slept for an hour, and when I awoke, it was like being in heaven. I had no pain at all in my upper body, left or right side. I have not felt like that in over five years! That euphoria only lasted about an hour or two. But oh, what a feeling!

    Pat

     
    Old 03-19-2005, 08:50 AM   #7
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Pat

    I am so happy for you that those injections gave you relief. My numbness only on one side last for a few hours. It was only to see if they hit the right spots. How long is your numbness supposed to last? It sounds like I needed the same injections as you got. I will right down the name of yours and talk to my pain doctor about them. This time my needles were injected into my nerve endings at C3/4/5 as injecting into my vertabraes did nothing for the pain. I am very optimistic about this procedure which is unusual for me because I have had so much done that I never believe that anything will help.
    Are you still looking at getting your nerve endings burnt if your pain comes back? Sorry to ask so many questions but I think we can help each other.
    Thanks again Pat
    Talk to you again soon
    Lyn in Michigan
    PS - the injections sounded almost identical and it doesn't matter if they give you sedatives, you can still feel the pain!!!!

     
    Old 03-19-2005, 10:33 AM   #8
    Dimples5
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Lyn~
    My pain is back, pretty much, already. Maybe not quite as intense as before the injection yet. It never did go away completely, except for the first hour or two right after the injection. Yesterday I even took a pain pill, and I normally don't take them unless the pain is pretty bad, as I have not gone back to work yet, and I just lay down when the pain gets too bad. Not really much of a life, is it?

    I wonder if I have problems in the same areas that you have, because my neck muscles hurt a lot in the areas right under the back of my skull all of the time, and I get a lot of headaches in that area, too. I'm just a walking pain! At least my husband says I'm a pain!

    I hope and pray that you do get some relief from your pain. We do need to keep in touch. It sounds like we are traveling down the same road and it might help if we look at the same maps.

    See you later.

    Pat

     
    Old 03-29-2005, 12:01 PM   #9
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Hi all
    Has anyone had any success with these medial branch blocks (facet joint blocks)
    Thanks Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 03-31-2005, 09:20 AM   #10
    jwweakley
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Thanks to all who have posted on the medial branch blocks. It was very informative.

    I've been battling cervical neck pain for over 7 years. I've had 5 surgeries (three fusions), gone through 4-5 nerve root blocks, and recently finished 3 epidural steriod injections. Still in high levels of pain. My pain Dr. (new) is now suggesting medial branch blocks. How have your doctors isolated where to do the block? I'm frustrated because no one can really tell me where my cervical pain is coming from. He thinks "maybe" the facet joints. Is this just a trial and error type of procedure?

     
    Old 03-31-2005, 02:03 PM   #11
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    JW Weakley

    Hi and welcome to my world!!! It sure stinks doesn't it? I am not sure how they isolate the medial branch blocks. I was kind of wondering that myself. I had my ACDF done on C5/6 and &7 Nov. 29/2003 and they don't think that is where the pain is from!! What an awful way of finding out. I have had every other kind of block also from Occipital Nerve Blocks because the back of my head aches all the time. I can't even lean my head against the back of the couch and there isn't a chair that I can sit in that I am comfortable in. I have also had headaches for 5 years that go from the back of my head over to my forehead and behind my eyes, in front of my ears and also in my jaw. The only way I can get comfortable watching TV is by laying down and I feel very uncomfortable. I have had 3 sets of steroid injections, medial branch blocks done a couple of years ago that didn't work either. I changed Pain Clinics on my GP's advice and for the first time, I think I got a bit of relief from the first set of blocks into my facet joints. Since my operation they have found out by x-rays, MRI's and a myelogram that the 2 vertabraes above were degenerating and the last medial branch blocks were done on 3,4 & 5. Maybe that is why they went in there. Anyway I am making this story way too long as usual and it is hard to get the point across. On this site you can't give out phone numbers and that is a shame because I would like to talk to you and compare stories. Maybe we could help each other!!! I got the second set of facet blocks done this Tuesday and it didn't work as well as the first one. I talked to the manager of the pain clinic today and he told me that I was a perfect candidate for Radio Frequency Burning of the nerves since I did get over 50% relief from both blocks. The freezing lasted like going to the dentist, it wore off after about an hour. Apparently the Radio Freq. burning of the nerves can last from 6 months to a year. I will take it!!! I just hope I get some relief. I haven't had anything work in 5 years which also includes myofascial release therapy, st. johns neuromuscular therapy, sacral cranial therapy, trigger point etc. etc. traction, normal massage. I am so sick of this. If you need to know anything else please feel free to send me another post. I am a 53 year old female - too young for all of this crap!!! - sorry had to vent!!!
    Thanks Take care of yourself
    Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 03-31-2005, 02:07 PM   #12
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    JW
    I just read your post again and our problems sound so similar, what a way to live!!!

    Dimples
    How are you feeling, did you have to go back to your doctor? I want to see if you have had anything new suggested to you for the pain.
    Thanks
    Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 04-01-2005, 08:49 AM   #13
    jwweakley
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Lyn,
    thanks for the note. Unfortunately, I'm a 43 year old going through this. My brother (42) just had ACDF at c 6/7 and 5/6 in December. So ours looks like it is hereditary...(thanks mom and dad!!!).

    My pain is concentrated in my neck and radiates up to the base of my skull and I also have pain in my shoulder. While I'm tender at the base of the skull, I do not have the headaches that you have.

    I'm having my medial branch block on Thursday and will ask the Dr. which level(s) he will be doing. He has mentioned that if this is successful I also would qualify for the Radio Frequency Burning procedures.

    My surgeon thinks that I can dramatically lower my pain by more cardiovascular exercise. I guess I'm a wimp, but that is the last thing I feel like doing... Have you (or anyone out there) really, really focused on cardio as a pain reliever?

     
    Old 04-01-2005, 03:46 PM   #14
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Hi JW

    If you mean cardio - as in exercise class, aerobics, etc. etc. I have been a member of Lifetime fitness for over three years. I took lots of weight classes, aerobics, and lately have only gone to the water aerobics and water sport which can be quite an intense workout . I find I can't keep up with the normal classes on the floor. My joints don't seem to be strong enough to be jumping around and using weights, I am just wrecked the next day. I like exercising in the water and I try to go 3 times a week but I just don't have the energy lately. I have to start back next week. I can't seem to say that I felt better when I exercised 3 times a week. The hot tub after class sure is nice but when I get home, I am in the same old pain. I haven't found anything that helps and I am hoping that the radiofrequency is going to work. I am trying to keep positive but it is difficult when all else has failed. Keep me posted as to whether you are going to try the medial branch blocks. I will let you know when I get my appt. what happens.
    Talk to you again soon.
    Lyn in Michigan

     
    Old 04-01-2005, 04:00 PM   #15
    Lyn in Michigan
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    Re: Medial Branch Blocks - will they help

    Hi JW

    I just read your post again and will be very interested in finding out how your medial branch blocks work on Thursday. They will only do one side at a time at the pain clinic that I go to. They have to do each side twice just to make sure that they get the right spot. Do you have to get yours done twice or just the once.
    Lyn in Michigan

     
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