Facet Joint Injection
A facet joint injection is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool used to locate pain affecting the facet joints. Facet joints are structures in between vertebrae that allow the spine to move. Overtime, facet joints may become worn down from aging, or degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. These injections contain a combination of anesthetics and pain medication, and are injected into the spine with the help of diagnostic imagining (fluoroscopy) and contrast dye. If a facet joint injection provides relief to the area treated, other interventional therapies such as radiofrequency neurotomy may be considered for prolonged relief.
What is Facet Joint Injections?
A facet joint injection is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool used to locate pain affecting the facet joints.
What are Facet Joints?
Facet joints are located in between vertebrae and are responsible for bending and twisting the spine.
These joints are surrounded by medial branch nerves, which carry pain signals from the spine to the brain.
Over time, facet joints may become worn down from aging, or degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
What Types of Pain Does Facet Joint Injection Treat?
Facet joint injections typically treat neck or back pain caused by damaged facet joints in your spine, also known as Facet Syndrome.
How Does Facet Joint Injection Work?
These injections contain a combination of anesthetics and pain medication, working a medial branch block, and are injected into the spine with the help of diagnostic imaging (fluoroscopy) and contrast dye.
If the numbing medicine provides relief to the area treated, this means the problematic facet joint can be identified and further treated by other interventional therapies such as radiofrequency neurotomy, therefore prolonging your overall pain relief.
Expectations and Recovery
These injections are not a permanent solution to your neck or back pain, though they can provide long-term relief. Patients may receive up to two repeat injections within six months post-procedure.
Pain relief is typically immediate given the anesthetic used in the medicine.
The procedure only takes between 5-15 minutes and is non-invasive and safe.
A typically safe procedure, some side effects may include allergic reactions or irritation at the injection site.
Other Conservative Treatments for Back or Neck Pain
Other treatments and procedures used to relieve long term back or neck pain include:
- Neck Pain Exercises and Stretching
- In order to strengthen the cervical spine and surrounding muscles, exercises and stretching can be implemented, in conjunction with steroid injections if prior pain relief is necessary.
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- For short-term pain relief (typically 3-4 months), steroid injections can be used to treat neck pain and can be combined with physical therapy and exercise for maximum benefit.
- Nerve Blocks
- Therapeutic nerve blocks contain local pain medications that can control acute pain.
- Radiofrequency Ablation (Rhizotomy)
- A minimally invasive procedure in the neck, middle or lower back, that destroys nerve fibers in the back that carry pain signals. It is performed under fluoroscopy (live x-ray).
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- If other therapies aren’t effective for treating your pain, an implantable pain management device can be an option. These devices administer mild electrical pulses to block the transmission of pain.
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