In 2 1/2 hours I’ll Be Under the X-Ray Machine and Giant Needles!!

Well I am having the “Facet Block” today on my back. I looked it up online and it is a relatively simple procedure.

What is a Facet Block (Injection) you ask? If you care, read the stuff in red. If you don’t care, skip it.

” Facet joints are paired joints on the side of the midline at each level of the spine. A facet block is a procedure in which a needle is placed into the facet joint under imaging guidance for the nerve root block injection of a local anesthetic and/or steroid. A facet joint injection may be performed at one or multiple levels and on one or both sides (right/left) of the spine.

The facet block is a diagnostic test to localize the source of your pain by
determining if your pain responds to the injection of medication. Alternatively, this procedure is used to treat symptoms arising from facet joint arthritis.

The precise location for the needle placement is determined with imaging guidance. You may experience brief, temporary sensations of pain or an electric shock sensation down the leg. Iodinated contrast is injected to confirm the location of the needle tip”

I’ll be having 4 needles as far as I can tell not including the ones they give you so you, hopefully, don’t feel pain. My sister is going to bring me and pick me up. I don’t have to cook supper. 🙂 I could make the family think this is more of a big deal than it actually is to get out of cooking for a few days but my Catholic guilt would certainly overcome me. Plus we’d have nothing to eat because I know no one else would cook.

OK, I just read this stuff. OOPS! I hope none of these happen especially increased appetite. I would be so pissed.

Potential risks and complications

As with all invasive medical procedures, there are potential risks and complications associated with facet joint injections. However, in general the risk is low, and complications are rare. Potential risks and or complications that may occur from a facet joint injection include:

  • Allergic reaction. Usually an allergy to x-ray contrast or steroid; rarely to local anesthetic.
  • Bleeding. A rare complication, bleeding is more common for patients with underlying bleeding disorders.
  • Infection. Minor infections occur in less than 1% to 2% of all injections. Severe infections are rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.
  • Worsening of pain symptoms
  • Discomfort at the point of the injection
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage or paralysis. While very rare, damage can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection, bleeding resulting in compression, or injection into an artery causing blockage.

In addition to risks from the injection, some patients will experience side effects from the steroid medication, such as:

  • Transient flushing with a feeling of warmth (‘hot flashes’) for several days
  • Fluid retention, weight gain, or increased appetite
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, insomnia
  • High blood sugar-diabetic patients should inform their primary care physicians about the injection prior to their appointment
  • Transient decrease in immunity
  • Cataracts-a rare result of excessive and/or prolonged steroid usage
  • Severe arthritis of the hips or shoulders (avascular necrosis)-a rare result of excessive and/or prolonged steroid usage

” In general the risk is low” What does that mean exactly? Do the risks outweigh the pain? No! I am so tired of my back hurting I will try anything at this point.

Personally, I think the worst part is wearing those silly hospital gowns. They never have my size.

The above is the new universal hospital gown that is supposed to fit everyone. It better damn well come with instructions because I know I will never figure it out on my own. When they say it fits all, do they really mean it? I’ve tried clothes on that are supposed to fit all and they don’t freakin’ fit me.

I’m bringing my camera. Maybe I can get a nurse to take photos.