#backpainblog, #BACKPAINBLOGUK, #backpainweek, #fibromyalgia, BACK PAIN, CHRONIC PAIN, facet joint injections, facet joint syndrome, HEALTH, nerve block injection

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NERVE BLOCK AND FACET JOINT INJECTIONS…

As my readers will have read before I had great success with lumber facet joint injections for low back pain. I have never had facet joints injections in my cervical spine but nor have I had a nerve block in my lumber spine so it’s interesting to find out the difference between them both.

The cost is definitely different for these two injections with the facet joint ones coming out a lot more expensive.

To explain the difference with these two types of injections I will start with a facet joint injection which is a type of steroid injection that is administered to a very specific set of joints. Steroid injections directly into these joints of concern can help relieve both inflammation and pain in the neck or back. Several injections to different facet joints may be needed depending on the site of pain.

As explained by the Spine Institute of North America a nerve block injection can be done anywhere along the spine. This particular injection targets the sympathetic nervous system and helps to reduce inflammation in nerves that branch from the spinal cord and the ganglia that is present at a particular location. Nerve blocks are a form of pain management as the substance that is injected numbs the nerves and helps to block pain signals. This one can consist of a local anesthetics, steroid and lidocaine (a numbing agent).

In a facet injection procedure, a physician uses fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to guide the needle into the facet joint capsule to inject lidocaine (a numbing agent) and/or a steroid (an anti-inflammatory medication). If the patient’s pain goes away after the injection, it can be inferred that the pain generator is the specific facet joint capsule that has just been injected.

A nerve block injection is also done using Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to ensure the medication is delivered to the correct location. If the patient’s pain goes away after the injection, it can be inferred that the back pain generator is the specific nerve root that has just been injected.

So, basically both injections administer similar drugs and both are done using live X-ray but they are put into different parts of the spine. Why they vary so much in price is something I cannot seem to find out about except that you seem to need more than one facet joint injection at each session. Let’s hope that nerve block injections funding doesn’t change to a postcode lottery like the facet joint ones have done.

#fibromyalgia, #nerves, #pain, BACK PAIN, backpainblog, CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA, HEALTH, nerve block injection, nerve pain

MY CERVICAL NERVE BLOCK INJECTION…

Yesterday I went in hospital for a nerve block injection into my cervical spine where I have been having lots of problems since last June. Surgery had been talked about but then an injection was a preferred choice which is also used to diagnose the source of the pain. A cervical nerve block injection is where a steroid and local anaesthetic are injected into the nerve root. The medication can decrease inflammation in the nerve root and will often, but not always then reduce the pain.

The consultant uses a live X-ray image (fluoroscopy) to very carefully insert and guide the needle to the spinal nerve then a contrast dye is used to confirm the needle placement. Next, the medication is slowly injected, and the needle removed.

In 2001 I had a cervical trigger point injection done in a side room at the hospital and not in the X-Ray department. Unfortunately it went very wrong and I collapsed and had to be resuscitated. The memory lasted a long time and I did say I would never have one in my spine again.

Since then I have had many different types of injections from epidurals, trigger points and facet joint injections in my spine, but all in my lumber spine. I have to admit I was a little nervous before having this second cervical injection as I have never had a nerve block before.

I explained my fears to all who were looking after me yesterday and they could not have be more sympathetic and kind. But, my consultant did explain to me that he felt the injection should be placed in at the C8 level and not C6/7 as requested as he could clearly see from the CT and MRI scan that C6/7 was where my other metal work and fusions were. Trying to inject around the metal work would not work nor relieve the pain.

I must admit it did throw me at first but it all made complete sense as I have had two cervical fusions so the last one had to be at that level and C8 had to be where the disc was giving me all the problems. The minute I told him my symptoms he was certain it was that disc but he did explain to me it was not an easy one to access. It also carried quite high risks with it but he understood that I really did not want surgery which probably had higher risks involved with that also.

He really took his time and explained every detail along the way. I cannot say it was not uncomfortable because even with a local anaesthetic once the medication started hitting the nerve boy did I know about it.

Today I’m ‘extremely perky’ as my sister put it after a great sleep last night, no pins and needles, no pain when I did simple tasks like cleaning my teeth and drying my hair. As the day has gone on the pain has got easier and easier and it’s just ‘amazing .’

Before the consultant left me yesterday I asked him if the injection was a success how many could I have in a year. ‘None, as far as I’m concerned ‘, he said ‘It’s to tricky a procedure .’

I felt a bit despondent about his reply so when I got home I had a quick look on Google about the area I ‘d had the injection and soon realised why he said it. An article from Inside Radiology wrote ‘Accurate needle placement, high-resolution image guidance and skilled specialist doctors are essential to avoid the major complications that arise as a result of poor quality imaging.

Luckily this time I had the treatment done in the right environment with a great consultant.