Going in for icky procedure today, wish me well

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is the first of my back blocks. This is what I pulled up about it. As you can see I am up early freaking out...lol.

    Facet and Medial Branch Blocks

    Frequently asked questions

    1. What is a facet block or medial branch block?
      A facet block is an injection of local anesthetic and steroid into a joint in the spine. A medial branch block is similar but the medication is placed outside the joint space near the nerve that supplies the joint called the medial branch (steroid may or may not be used). You may require multiple injections depending upon how many joints are involved.
      Facet blocks and medial branch blocks are typically ordered for patients who have pain primarily in their back coming from arthritic changes in the facet joints or for mechanical low back pain.
      A facet block or medial branch block may be therapeutic and/or diagnostic. One of three things may happen. 1. The pain does not go away - which means that the pain is probably not coming from the blocked facet joints - this has diagnostic value. 2. The pain goes away and stays away for a few hours but the original pain comes back and doesn¹t get better again. This would mean the block was also of diagnostic value -the pain is probably coming from the joints, but the steroid was not of benefit. 3. The pain goes away after the block, the pain may come back later that day, but then the pain gets better again over the next few days. This means that the block was of therapeutic value - the steroid had a long lasting effect on the pain.
      If you get good, lasting benefit from the injections, the block may be repeated. If you get good, short-term benefit another procedure (radiofrequency lesioning) may be done which may last months to years.
      Note: The procedure can not be performed if you have an active infection, flu, cold, fever, very high blood pressure or if you are on blood thinners. Please make your doctor aware of any of these conditions. This is for your safety!
    2. What are the risks of the procedure?
      As with most procedures there is a remote risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury, or allergic reaction to the medications used.
      Some short-term side effects may occur. If local anesthetic spreads to nearby nerves you may have weakness or numbness that can last for several hours. If this happens you may have to stay in the Pain Management Center until this resolves. You may have increased pain for a few days after the injection, including localized pain at the injection site. Diabetics may have short-term elevation of blood sugars. People prone to fluid retention may have increased fluid retention for 1-2 weeks.
    3. Will the injection hurt a lot?
      Most people say the stinging/burning of the numbing medicine is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure though every person¹s response to any procedure is individual.
    4. What happens during the actual procedure?
      After signing a consent form and checking your blood pressure the procedure will be done in the fluoroscopy (x-ray) room with you lying on your stomach. For procedures in the neck an intravenous is started. The back is then cleansed with an antiseptic soap. Sterile drapes are placed. The skin is anesthetized (numbed) with a local anesthetic. This is felt as a stinging or burning sensation. Using x-ray guidance, needles are then advanced to the appropriate locations (the joints or the medial branch). Once the needles are in the proper location local anesthetic with or without steroid is injected through the needles and the needles are removed. Your skin will be cleansed and bandages will be applied. (The bandages can be removed on the next morning). Your blood pressure will be checked and you will be discharged to leave with your ride after M.D. authorizes discharge
    5. How will I feel after the injection?
      Your back pain may be improved immediately after the injection from the local anesthetic. It is important to keep track of how you feel for the remainder of the day. The steroid, when used, takes two or three days to have on effect in most people and peaks in about two weeks.
      Some local tenderness may be experienced for a couple of days after the injection. Using an ice pack three or four times a day will help this. You may take your usual pain medications as well after the injection.
      It is important that you keep track of the amount of pain relief you received as well as how long the pain relief lasted.
    6. Will I have any restrictions on the day of the procedure?
      You may not drive for the remainder of the day after your procedure. An adult must be present to drive you home or to go with you in a taxi or on public transportation. The procedure will be cancelled if you don¹t have a responsible adult with you!! This is for your safety.
      No heat is to be used in the injected areas for the remainder of the day.
      No tub bath or soaking in water (i.e. pool, jacuzzi, etc.) for the remainder of the day.
      If the injections are in your neck you may take your medications as usual with a sip of water but do not eat or drink for six hours before the procedure. You may eat, drink and take your medications as usual on the day of the procedure (both before and after) if the injections are to be in your low back. Please follow the above instructions unless told differently by your doctor.
    7. For what reasons should I call the Pain Management Center after the injection?
      If you experience severe back pain, new numbness or weakness of your legs, or signs of infection in the area of the injection, you should call the Pain Management Center
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    take a deep breath.......you know, based on the description, you could kinda convince yourself it's an epidural.

    Good luck, you will do great! Positive thoughts for the best outcome.

  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good luck today Janet. No worries - we will all be there with you!!!
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was kinda ok with the situation till they told me it probably wouldnt last very long! Just basically diagnostic so they can decide if they should go in a burn off the nerves with the big gun one that lasts from a year to 18 months. That one sounds even more lovely!
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Wishing you well Janet. My gfgbiomom has had this procedure several times and it did really help her a lot. Hope you get some relief.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hugs, Janet - sending calming vibes! I hope it goes well and it helps a lot~
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My thoughts are with you....
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I've had a similar procedue done in other joints and it was a huge relief. I hope its the same for you.

    Thinking of you!!!!
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Wishing you well!
  10. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Wishing you well and hope that this brings you some relief!!!!
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hope all goes well! Many hugs...
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Wishing you well also

    My GFIL has these every few months. He gets them so often because he is too old to get the surgery at this point. They really do help him.
    Let us know how you are when you can.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You're brave, Janet, and will get through it just fine. I'm sending best wishes that it is a breeze. Well, if not a breeze at least doable. More importantly I am hoping it eases your discomfort. Hugs. DDD
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sending positive vibes for a successful outcome today! Just think of how good life will be without pain!
  15. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Gentle hugs,
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...I made it through!

    This place didnt give me any lidocaine or even any nice little IV with a little momma's helper in it to calm me down :sad-very:

    Hurt like the dickens! I asked the guy if he gave me anything to calm me down because I was scared and he said he would just tell me I would be fine! Yeah,...thanks doctor! I also asked him if it was easier or worse than getting those shots in my knees and the guy said he had done the shots in the knees and it hurt less than them. Well...I beg to differ!!!

    Then he started smashing on my spine right after he finished wanting to know if I felt any better immediately and I told him...uh...not yet, you just stuck needles in me!!! Give me a few please. I guess some folks feel better immediately. Not me. They also only did one side so the other is really complaining.

    We shall see. I hope it does some good. My back is still very tender at this point though. I am supposed to keep a journal and see if I get any relief.
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, take it easy today -- hopefully you'll notice some improvement once your nerves over the situation settle down.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It sounds painful! I only had something stuck in my spine when I gave birth and don't remember it being that painful, but that's compared to contractions. LOL! I'm glad you made it through and at least now you can gage the relief (if any) and decide if it's worth it to have more. You're a brave lady! I can't even get dental work done if the only thing they give me is something in a huge needle headed for my mouth.
  19. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    KLMO, you might want to rethink the dental work thing. They now have a special topical numbing gel that they apply before doing the injections for dental work. I was astonished to find that I barely felt the actual injections.

    I had always needed IV sedation for dental work and managed to get through extensive dental work without anything other than local anesthesia, not even nitrous oxide.

    Next time you go to the dentist, try this. Just ask them to use the topical agent if they don't do it automatically. Now, if they could just do something about the sound of the drill, LoL.

    I've had the back injections as well, but unfortunately, in my case they didn't "take". I'm actually getting more and better relief using chiropractic. I don't get the science behind it at all, but it really helps me with back and neck pain.
  20. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hope you have some relief this morning.