A big, silver Dodge Ram truck raced through an intersection at 70 miles per hour, hitting a black Kia automobile, which in turn slammed into the driver’s side of the Lexus that Tom Hannan was driving. Fortunately, the Kia made contact just past the passenger door. Otherwise, Tom’s injuries would have been far worse.
Though he felt fine at the time, Tom visited an emergency room and had a CT scan that revealed a few cracked ribs. During the next few weeks, Tom began experiencing low back pain that grew worse over time. “It was the worst pain I have ever had,” says the retired optician.
A clinician at Platte Valley Hospital referred Tom to Dr. Paul Leo, a pain management specialist at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics. “He was great,” says Tom. “Dr. Leo explained that something was not right with my neck.”
Dr. Leo scheduled Tom for physical therapy and bilateral articular facet injections at C4 and C5. He used fluoroscopic guidance to ensure accurate placement of the injections. “He really nailed the right spot,” says Tom. “That night was the first time that I slept for more than four hours.”
Tom returned to see Dr. Leo for follow up visits and said that unlike other doctors, he looked forward to seeing him. “I felt like I was in great hands,” says Tom. “Dr. Leo is excellent, and the clinic is so professional.”
Though he had to buy his girlfriend a new car to replace her totaled Lexus, Tom’s physical pain is gone. Soon, as the owner of Rocky Mountain Lemonshakers, he will be ready to shake up hundreds of fresh, gourmet lemonade concoctions at upcoming festivals around Colorado.
For an appointment with Dr. Paul Leo, call the Center for Spine and Orthopedics at 303-287-2800.
About Facet Joint Injections for Neck & Back Pain
Facet joint injections can be done for diagnostic and therapeutic reasons and are often used when pain is caused by injury or degenerative/arthritic conditions. They are generally used to treat neck, middle back or lower back pain. The pain does not have to be exclusively limited to the midline spine as these problems can cause pain to radiate into the shoulders, buttocks or upper legs.
For diagnostic purposes, facet joints can be injected with an anesthetic directly into the joint or by anesthetizing the nerves carrying the pain signals away from the joint (medial branches of the nerve). If the majority of pain is relieved with anesthetic into the joint, then a therapeutic steroid injection may provide lasting neck or low back pain relief.