View Full Version : facet joints

2nd December 2004, 02:39 AM
Has anybody had facet joint injections and did they work? any side effects and was it worth it?


2nd December 2004, 09:00 AM
I'm not sure if anyone here has had them, but I've known people who have at other sites (mainly at a couple of Sacroilicac Joint Disorder forums), and it's been a mixed bag. There have been some people who've had no relief at all, but there have been others who have had incredible amounts of relief from it. Also, there have been occasional reports of people getting no relief from their first set, but getting a great deal from the next set, with opinion divided as to whether it was because a different person did it, whether it was a different steroid used the second time, or whether it was just that the second lot allowed it all to reach a sort of saturation point where it worked.

From everything I've read and heard, I would say that it's definitely worth trying, and trying more than once. Depending on how they do it, results may be a little different as well. With larger joints, they often inject a local anaesthetic in there with the steroid, because the instantaneous relief that can often be provided by that at least pin points clearly whether the pain does stem from there (with the steroid then gradually kicking in over the course of several days, or with some of them several weeks), but facet joints are tiny, so I'm not sure whether they do that for them or not as a routine thing. Certainly I've heard of people where what's happened is that basically they've reached a stage of chronic inflammation, and getting it knocked right back like that can provide several years of relief by breaking the vicious cycle.

2nd December 2004, 01:53 PM
I was offered them kieran, but decided not to have it done.My neck problem is most likely due to facet joint damage and I decided to wait and save them for a day when painkillers/anti-inflammatories don't work any more.
My GP tells me that it depends heavily on who actually DOES the injection for you,some anaesthetists are excellent and others simply miss the spot.If it's done right, you can get up to two years pain relief.
For someone like you who's young and active and needs to be pain free through college etc..I reckon have a go.it's not a major procedure and you might get some benefit from it.I also read that you need to be in pain before you have it done as that way they can better pinpoint the source of the pain and hit the right spot.
So in a nutshell, give it a try but don't get your hopes up.

2nd December 2004, 06:36 PM
The woman I know who is kind of my RL scoliosis "mentor" had it done last year. She says it helped her a LOT...

3rd December 2004, 03:11 AM
thanks for the replies...
i'm going to have an MRI after christmas to make sure there is nothing else there and also pinpoint the joints that need doing...the specialist thinks it is just the left one at L3. Then when i get back to brisbane i think i will have it done since it seems that there is a possibility it will help

3rd December 2004, 12:16 PM
That's good news Kieran,
At least they're investigating the pain and it's come a long way from the time they were telling you that some back pain is quite normal and to just get on with it.Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

20th December 2004, 01:17 PM
results of the mri are confusing to say the least...i dont think they say anything is particularly wrong but if anybody can explain any part it would be great

"long harrington rods have been applied from t6 to l3, interpedicular screws are in satisfactory position. There are no signs of impaction. No spinal canal stenosis is apparent. Minimal disc bulge is seen at the last three leve;ls with minimal spinal canal stenosis resulting in augmented by ligament flavum hypertrophic change. No epidural mass is seen. Normal conus ends at L1. Slight scoliosis convex to the left in the lumbar region persists. Exit foramina look patent.

impressions: Mild degenerative change with mild disc bulge at the last three levels. No post operative complications from the harrington rods. Slight scoliosis convex to the left persists in the lumbar regions."

confusing isn't it...

20th December 2004, 02:24 PM
Very interesting.
Looks like the screws aren't pressing on anything and there's no narrowing of the spinal canal.There's nothing to suggest any neurological problem or fluid on the spinal canal either.It also says there's room for the nerves to exit from the vertebrae so there's no trapped nerves.The only thing of note are the minimally bulging discs which are a symptom of mild disc degeneration which you'd really expect after a fusion.
In my own situation I seem to have quite majorly degenerated discs but two consultants have told me that it's impossible to predict just who will suffer pain from degenerated discs.Some people with mild degeneration can have extreme pain and there are others like me who have little or no lower back pain.You just seem to be unlucky.
As to what they can do,I'd happily try the facet joint injections and definitely some physiotherapy.Is the pain in the same place before the surgery Kieran or is it a new type of pain?

21st December 2004, 01:00 AM
I'd probably say both...

I dont remember really being able to pinpoint the pain before surgery but now it is definately localised to a few points apart from the general ache that i'm sure most people experience from time to time. The points where it is bad i seem to remember being bad before surgery which suggests it is not a result of surgery.

I'm almost certain i'll try the injections once i get back to brisbane and just see how much they help, other than that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to do

Thanks for you help :-)