Originally Posted by Pookie-poo
I have been having lower back pain for years. I sustained an upper back injury last July at work (holding abdominal retractors on morbidly obese patients for over 10 hours straight.) Because I didn't get relief from rest and muscle relaxants, my doctor sent me for an MRI, which diagnosed a bulging disc in my neck, and grade 1 (low grade) spondylolisthesis in my lower (lumbar) spine. I had 3 months of physical therapy, and have continued my exercises, 4 times a week, since October. I also have a TENS/MNES unit that I use when the pain becomes nearly unbearable. Since starting my exercise and weight training routine, I have lost 20 pounds without changing my eating habits too much (although I have changed a little, no soft drinks and MUCH less fried foods, just better food choices in general.) Even with the weight loss, exercise and TENS unit, my lower back pain is relentless and becoming quite discouraging. I have an appointment with my neurosurgeon (one that I work with very frequently in the O.R.) on Monday to discuss my lower back pain. One of the options that we will be discussing will be a facet joint block, which is a local anesthetic/steriod injection in my back into the facet joints which are slipping against each other, in hopes that this will bring relief. Has anyone here had this procedure done, or know anyone who has had this done? Needless to say, I'm a little nervous about this, but if it will bring relief, I'm kind of leaning toward going through with it. I'd love to hear any stories (positive or negative) about it!
I have had several experiences with all kinds of lower back injections and procedures including facet blocks. I can be a wealth of information to you and I am sure that will not end here.
First, my DBIL (ha! a new one), is a PhD in anatomy and is a chiropractor and teaches at the most prestigious chiropractor clinic in the country. He has worked on me for more than two year and achieved naught. So, against his advice, I went and had steroid injections in the L5 area which was collapsed. This gave me immediate relief and I had a series of three of these. They did not last that long (2 months) and I went through a series of three more. (I was put out for each of these procedures.) The second series did nothing for me and he suggested I see another type of doctor who gave another type of injections, the facet ones you are talking about. This involved another set of three injections, all of which were done while I was out. I got supreme relief from these but had to go back in about six months for another series of three, which was about a year and a half ago. I have had no pain since even though my L5 is completely collapsed and the facet has a bulge. I have also had sympathetic nerve blocks for the pain in my leg, which is a different type of facet injection that removes all the pain sensors that go through your spine down your leg. That did not help. But I have been living back pain free.
However, I need to point out two other things.
At the time, the car I drove was a Lotus. This type of car has the stiffest and most punishing of all cars to the lower back. I traded in for a Porsche, the same class of car, but with a much smoother ride. Also of note is that at this time I purchased a Panasonic massage chair. If you have the money, BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY! This chair is sooooooooo wonderful and you can program it exactly the way you want it to massage you spine in an infinite number of ways. So, all three of these things happened within a week of each other about a year and a half ago. I use the chair every day before going to bed (and Alley comes up and massages my front). I have been pain free for 18 months.
The procedure itself caused me no discomfort whatsoever. They put you out and you do not even know you are out. I can remember watching the clock and it was 9:48 and I literally saw the clock JUMP forward to 10:03. It's absolutely like nothing has happened at all! You don't know when you go out nor do you know when you wake up, it is totally seamless.
Any other questions? Just pm me.