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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Just a Mom
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 11:08:51

    Good luck! I hope this works for you, pain stinks!


  2. writerchick
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 11:57:32

    Oh my God, Joanie, that gown looks like it was made by Ikea. Don’t be surprised if you have parts left over and it doesn’t quite stand up straight.

    As to the medical procedure, things like this make me seriously wonder if all doctors aren’t sadists at heart. Yikes. Hope it goes well.


  3. betme
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 14:07:16

    Sending you virtual hugs and happy thoughts. I am not into needle pictures, but look forward to seeing a snap shot of your happy face.

    Of course if they knock you out and snap pictures of you propped up in obscure poses, I am down with that!


  4. MJ
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 14:14:54

    I hate hospital gowns. I once devoted a whole post to the sadistic existence of the paper gown.

    Here’s to hoping you feel better. *cheers*


  5. c
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 14:31:57

    i hope that this procedure goes smoothly, with minimal side affects.
    Back pain is so awful! i pray that with this procedure, the doctors will be able to locate the source of, treat, your pain.


  6. Hannah
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 17:07:03

    Good luck, Joan! I’m sure things will go smoothly and there will be NO adverse effects! You know they have to say those things MAY happen, but the chances are very slim.
    I hope they will be able to find the source of your pain which will lead to an effective treatment for you.


  7. kaylee2
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 17:51:58

    AWWWW hope it all went well


  8. Hay
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 18:11:09

    All the best! My MIL had that done and it really helped loads, I hope it does for you too!


  9. shornsheep
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 18:31:22

    All the best, Joan! Will be thinking of you. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. thebeadden
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 19:20:37

    I hope this works wonders for you, Joan! That gown looks like one would need a degree to put it on. They make it look so complicated.
    Are you really going to ask the nurse to take photos? Hahahaha! That is sooooo Joan!


  11. sheng
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:10:56

    hope things get right. Pains sure stinks, and i hope you get well soon, and blog soon about it.


  12. michaelm
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:26:33

    This post is a sign I should go to bed.
    Many prayers to be prayed . . .
    Keep the faith, kiddo


  13. odette
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:54:39

    i hope everything goes well joan!
    needles freak me out too, every freakin’ time. (i want my mommy! waah!!)…

    feel better soon! i’m praying for your quick recovery (without the complications)!


  14. JavaQueen
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 02:37:43

    Hello Joan. I’ll be thinking of you. I know you’ll be okay, and good things will come out of this; like NO MORE PAIN!


  15. David
    Jul 04, 2008 @ 21:23:50

    Oh, I love the way that new hospital gown comes with blood stains already on it! Wouldn’t it be even cooler if they had little skulls & crossbones too?


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