Monday, March 14, 2011

Cervical Facet Blocks Overview: One Patient's Experience

The statistics of my blog show that by far the most viewed blog posts are ones I've written on cervical facet blocks apparently because people's Google searches are bringing them to my blog. So, I thought I'd write an overview post where you find all the information I have written on Cervical Facet Blocks in one place. Please follow me through my journey that started two and a half years ago.

I have had Migraines since October 2005, but I started having neck pain in March 2008.  In my post on Wednesday, September 17, 2008  Cervical Facet Blocks: Undercover Investigative Report, I described how my first set of blocks went, explaining every detail of the procedure. I described exactly what cervical facet blocks are and provided some helpful diagrams. So if you are looking for a good description, please see that post. I was sedated for my procedure, but I know of many people who are not sedated.

In my post on Thursday, October 16, 2008 Update: Cervical Facet Blocks I gave a five week follow-up report. The pain from the injections had lasted seven days and I only had a few weeks of relief.  I discussed how my physiatrist had mentioned that Migraines and neck pain could affect each other. He said that I may have a continual battle with my neck because my neck is holding up my head, the source of my Migraines. Supporting a hurting head can cause neck tension and pain. This is something important to remember as my story continues.

In my post on Tuesday, March 24, 2009  March 2009 Update on Cervical Facet Blocks, Nerve Blocks and Botox, I described how in the weeks following my December 2008 injections, I had about a month of relief with my neck pain but also decreased frequency of Migraines and decreased intensity of my chronic daily headache pain.  However the relief did not last through my menstrual cycle which triggers nasty Migraines.  I had another set of injections at the end of January 2009 and the decreased pain lasted through March 2009. 

In April 2009, I scheduled another set of injections for June 2009, but I kept postponing them and then finally canceled them. The receptionist asked why I would not be rescheduling and I said, "Because I feel better! I don't need them." In March 2009, I started a new Migraine preventative, which has brought me good Migraine management off and on since then. From March 2009 until January 2011, I did not have any occipital or neck pain. Then, when I went off of my Migraine preventative in January 2011, I started having neck pain again. I want to refer back to what my neck physiatrist mentioned at my appointment in 2008. He seemed to think that neck pain and Migraines are intertwined. When my Migraines were better managed, my occipital pain/neck pain was better managed. Insightful. Maybe the key to occipital pain/neck pain relief is better Migraine management. At least that was true in my case.

My current Migraine specialist treated my neck pain with Botox injections February 7th, 2011. It has been too long since I've had the cervical facet blocks to compare which helped more. Botox has been an extremely helpful tool in treating my Migraines. As far as treating my neck pain, I would rather do Botox injections because they are much much much less painful than cervical facet blocks.

I hope this overview is helpful. If you have any questions about my experience big or small, please ask! This post is meant to be about my experience. As each experience is different, your doctor is the best person to consult about questions specific to your case.

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