Facet joint pain lumbar spine: I am feeling... - Pain Concern

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Facet joint pain lumbar spine

Vick-caz profile image

I am feeling very lost with managing my pain. I've now been advised the pain is not in my SI joint after going through physio, acupuncture and other treatments for SI joint pain. It is believed to be lumbar facet joint pain. I have been offered the spinal injections under x-ray as the next treatment plan however the doctor has said it is more for diagnostic purposes to make sure it's the facet joint as he wants to do radio frequency on the facet joints.

So far I have gone through physio twice, one on one Pilates, acupuncture and local pain management none of which helped, unfortunately I can't take NSAIDS so I'm restricted in pain killers.

This spinal injections treatment has me very nervous. This has been offered even though I have never been scanned and seems unclear if the doctor know where exactly the pain is coming from. The pain specialist said he won't scan until the injection or the radio frequency fail. Has anyone found success with spinal injections?

I feel lost at the moment and fearful to try this one, I don't want to miss out from fear but also I don't want to out myself through a procedure that may not work.

21 Replies

Hi there,

It was a long time ago that I had the injections in the facet joints. Four the first time and 8 the second. I don’t think they made a lot of difference, perhaps a couple of weeks. If your pain is unbearable then I’d give a go otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to Essie49

Thank you for replying and so fast. At the moment the only way I can control the amount of pain is by reducing activity which has left me isolated and that's not helping really. Dr wants to do the injections so I can exercise when the pain is down or gone. It's great to hear it works even if its only for a short while.

Urania profile image
Urania in reply to Vick-caz

see my reply to Sukie1 re CBD Hemp Oil.

I have had facet joint injections, nerve denovation and epidural blocks. They all worked but not long periods of time. Your gp should be able to order an mri for you.

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to lupus_01

It is great to hear it has worked for you even if not for long, my GP thought I should be scanned as I haven't been so far and he sent me to hospital pain team for that, but the doctor there has said he doesn't see a reason to scan yet. Thank you for replying.

Hi there I’ve just had medial facet joint nerve block.. under X-ray 2 weeks ago.. I’m finding I am not having any pain in my spine now as it’s blocked.

just muscle pain which I now have to lose weight and excersise to help with that..

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to deb25426

Thank you for replying, it is very reassuring to hear you have responded well, I was very concerned about the procedure. Has I taken a while for the spinal pain to go or did you find it was immediate?

I ain’t gonna lie, it was an ouchy procedure at times but they injected local aneastetic all around the area before the procedure, and putting the needles in is like acupuncture but deeper. And when they put the nerve block stuff in that was a really weird sensation like bearing down... but I’m a wimp and I would have it done again... for a couple days I felt like I’d been kicked BUT not pain from my spine!!! Yayyyyy.... if this works I can have them burned (?) to give me a longer lasting pain relief... now if I can get the muscles to stop aching I’d be in heaven.. but even that is not as bad... so all good... go for it. X

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to deb25426

Thank you, the doctor talked me through the procedure and he's going to use 6 needles, he wants to do this so he can locate where the pain is coming from and once he knows he's going to do the radio frequency (burn the nerves) so looks like I'll be having the same procedure it is good to hear what it was like. Knowing what to expect is making me feel better.

All done under xray as well so he can see where he’s going but they are very good at what they do. X

Hi Vick-caz...sorry to hear of all your problems. I can only comment on PMR and acupuncture has helped me so much. ..not much help to you but I do hope you get some help and relief soon.

Thank you x I was very hopeful when I had acupuncture and I can see how wonderful it can be at pain relief. When I had acupuncture, I was given 10 needles to start in hip and lower back, I got a week of stiffness, followed by a few wonderful days of feeling much better and being able to move a lot better, it wore off. I went back and was told I shouldn't have been stiff for that long so they tried less needles and in just my back, it did nothing, they kept trying but the more the added needles the more days I was stiff, the less they added it just failed to work. I thought it was just a case of finding a balance that would work but because any benefit I did get came at a price and only lasted temporary they said it wasn't working and canceled the treatments. It is lovely to hear it has helped you, from the one time it worked on me I too felt the relief. Thank you for your support x

I have had the procedure and it worked great for me. I get about two years ao relief following the medial branch radiofrequency ablation (aka nerve burning) stopmychronicpain.com

That is wonderful to hear, before I joined the forum I was letting fear out me off out hearing how successful it has been for others. Thank you for replying and I am pleased to hear how it has helped you. I am on a waiting list for the injections and then he wants to do the RF, I think he knows the injections will not help as much as the RF will so he wants to use the injections to locate the source to burn that nerve later on. Thank you for replying, I am feeling so much better now.

Rfa could be helpful for the dr to see if its a nerve being hit,,,ner es can cause crippling and disabling pain, if the rfa works then thats whats causing your pain, if the rfa works you may experience pain relief for many months, this could be done every six months,,,have you had back surgery in the past?

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to

Hi, no I haven't had any back surgery. I first had a problem in 2014 but after the initial pain and recovery I managed to be pain free as long as I stuck to not carrying uneven weight, kept to wearing supportive shoes and equipment at work. Due to some recent changes my back deteriorated and this time it did not recover and I've been left with pain that isn't responding to the treatments I've had dispite me giving it 100%, I've been like this for over a year now, with the pain but I've had the back problem for 4 years. Surgery was not an option before as it was my SI, my GP has also said he thinks it is bio mechanical so there isn't much to be done no surgery just hopefully finding a way to manage the pain.

in reply to Vick-caz

Back pain is rough stuff, i had 2 fusions, the last fusion the surgeon burned the muscles on both sides of the s1 and left l4, i now have permanent nerve damage due to those nerves being in the muscles, i dont really understand the whole thing, they tried mbb, rfa, spinal cord stimulater, and im just left taking pain meds, im never ever out of pain, i cant sit, stand, or walk for more than 5 minutes before going into crippling pain, even laying down hurts so much as its so so tender, i do walk 1x day (after taking meds) and i make it a good one, about 40 to 60 minutes, its not a fast walk but i have to push to keep my hips strong, i do have appt to see about getting a pain pump where the pain med is directed at the source, if anyone out there prays, i sure would love some prayers. And I will pray for you too, try everything including prayer always

Vick-caz profile image
Vick-caz in reply to

I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with pain from nerve damage and left with just pain killers, I hope and pray that the will be an alternative or your pain finds a way to lessen. I use a TENS machine that helps when I have to go on a car journey, for me that is extremely painful and I am restricted on taking pain killers as I only have one kidney and have to be careful. I find laying down sore too especially in bed, I have an orthopedic mattress but it made me feel raw (I think you'll get that ) so I have to put a blanket under to lessen the firmness, I found Valerian root helps me get a little more sleep still not enough but it also helps relax muscles and when I didn't take it one night I notice how much it has been helping me, might be worth you looking into to see if it would benefit you and if your ok to try it with the meds you take. It helps balance the normal sleep cycle and helps relax muscles it doesn't put you to sleep just helps maintain a natural sleep cycle. My TENS is a TPN200.

in reply to Vick-caz

Thanks for the info, i had a spinal cord stimulator trial, similar to tens, didnt go well at all, it justs all the time, yesterday tried medical marijuana and i was painfree for the first time in years, i used it today and it wasnt the same , had a really bad day

I have had several radiofrequency facet joint ablations at different places in my spine and at different times in my life; all were extremely successful at eliminating most of my pain at the time and each one lasted about 9-10 months. I have had them done by 2 different doctors, one in FL, and one in TN. They each have done several for me; if needed, I wouldn't hesitate to have it done again. Each doctor had to do a "test run" first to see if the nerve-burning procedure (Facet Joint Ablation) would work; that just meant going in with a numbing solution (medial branch block) which wears off pretty quickly, to see if the pain is relieved, temporarily. The FJA is done with an electric needle hooked up to a machine to show the doctor where to go to burn the offending nerve. The patient is in a kind of "twilight sleep" (don't remember a thing, later) so she can help with where the pain is located, i.e.: "Ah, there it is, right there!"

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