A facet joint injection can be a great tool to treat back pain that originates in the facet joints. When patients at The Pain Center of Arizona still feel pain after taking medication, or simply don’t want to worry about the hassle of medication, facet joint injections can be excellent pain-relieving alternatives. Our physicians believe that the injections can be more effective at treating pain because the soothing anti-inflammatory medication is injected directly into the tissue around the joint instead of being absorbed through the body.
Many patients are curious about the side effects of a facet joint injection. Our physicians warn that while complications are rare, there are a few risks that we look out for. One of the first questions we are typically asked is about the pain. Minimal pain and discomfort is the most common side effect of a facet joint injection as patients may feel a little bit sore in the days following their injection. However, patients do not usually feel a lot of pain during the injection itself. A local anesthetic is used before the procedure to minimize pain as much as possible.
Besides some discomfort, another possible side effect is an allergic reaction. There are a couple of things we use during a facet joint injection that a patient could be allergic to. It’s pretty rare for patients to have a reaction to the numbing anesthetic, but more common that patients react to the cortisone medication or the dye we use to highlight the facet joint on our X-ray device. While a serious reaction is rare, it is possible, so patients should be sure to tell their physician everything they are allergic to beforehand.
As with any procedure, both the physician and the patient should be careful to avoid infection. Our physicians sterilize your back around where the injection will take place as well as the needles before the injection takes place. However, patients can do their part to avoid infection by keeping the area clean, which means always washing your hands before touching the injection site.
Some patients may experience side effects as their bodies react to the cortisone medication. Some studies have shown that cortisone may contribute to weight gain, decrease in production of the body’s own cortisone, and an increase of blood glucose levels. Ask your physician if you are at an increased risk of experiencing any of these side effects from the steroid medication itself.
Overall, the risk of experiencing a side effect from a facet joint injection is rare. We routinely see positive results from patients who found pain relief through this procedure, and many of them come back requesting repeat injections when the pain relieving effects have worn off. If patients desire, The Pain Center of Arizona physicians can describe the side effects and their likelihood in more detail as well.
If you suffer from chronic pain due to any condition or injury, find hope at The Pain Center of Arizona! Our dedicated team of board certified pain management physicians will work with you to treat your pain, increase your functionality and quality of life, and get you back into life! We have locations across Arizona, including the Phoenix metropolitan, Northern and Southern areas! We take multiple insurance plans; click here to see if we take yours! To make an appointment and take the first step toward getting back into life, call us today at 1-888-PAINCENTER. We hope to see you soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.