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Old 08-30-2009, 04:56 PM
SandyW SandyW is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Port Clinton, Ohio
Posts: 75
Default Facet nerve block injections after cervical ADR

An update since April: The Pain Management doc felt that my muscle pain was secondary to the arthritis in my facets and recommended the facet nerve block.

His explanation made sense. Due to my age and the length of my DDD the cartilage between my facets (spoon shape bone) and the vertebrae was gone. The bone on bone action was impinging on the nerves that branch out of that area. To make matters worse, my successful 4-level ADR were contributing to the problem. The ADR's were successful in correcting the impingement of my discs on the spinal cord and therefore a necessary surgery. BUT because the ADR's allowed normal movement, more movement than fusion, I was irritating the nerves from the bone on bone movement.

Fixed things successfully (thank you Dr. B) and kept my mobility, but created a monster.

The PM doctor was fairly sure he could help me. In April I had nerve blocks at facets 3, 4, and 5 left side only. Since nerve blocks are diagnostic and used to locate pain I was fascinated and thrilled to have no pain for about 4 hours. However after the anesthetic wore off, a week of greater pain made be wonder "what did you get yourself into this time." The next week was "Hey, I feel much better, can get up out of bed, off the sofa and do more." I had the second set of injections in May, the after pain was shorter and the pain level way down.

The problem if you want to look at it that way was: I can ride in a car for longer periods of time, I can work outside in the flower beds for more than a few minutes, I can sit thru a movie - but with more movement I still had to take pain meds - just Tramadol with a seldom used Percocet for break thru pain. I felt like I had a life again, one I could accept.

These blocks got rid of the debilitating pain in my traps, but they don't last forever. I must decide whether to continue nerve blocks or go for a longer, but not forever, RFA (radio frequency nerve ablation) procedure.

I've been back to the PM doc, since I fell in love with him for giving me a life that I could tolerate, to fix the other pain.The #2 facet was affecting the occipital muscle pinching the nerves causing migraine type headaches (not 24/7) and my head to itch excessively 24/7 uggh. I had the first injection last week, the headaches are not as severe and the muscle is not as sore, the itching is as bad. I go back for second round the middle of September.

I hope this may help some of you who might be experiencing more pain after surgery than before. Since I had thought my new ADR's would fix me, I was dismayed with my worsening pain. Dr. B and two other spine docs said my ADR's were perfectly placed and had not moved 1 year post-op and my spinal cord was not in trouble. No one except Terry and Justin suggested looking at the facets - THANK YOU . Understanding the role arthritis of the facet/vertebrae and the movement the ADR's allow, plus finding a good PM doc who suggested nerve blocks has been a life saver.

I'll be back in several months to let you know what my next step will be. If you have any questions would be glad to answer.

**Accidents, active life-style, always some back/neck pain controlled w/ibuphrofen
2004 excessive pain, x-ray, PT, MRI diagnosis cervical DDD
**PM recommended, meds, PT, massage therapy, chiropractor, injections
**Dec. 2007 numbness and weakness in left arm/thumb, x-rays, MRI, discs at C4-7 pushing on spinal cord, fusion or ADR out of country
**April 7, 2008, discogram at C3-4, surgery 4 levels, Prodisc-C, Dr. Bertagnoli, Germany
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