What Are Facet Joint Injections
Facet joint injections are a nonsurgical treatment option for a specific type of neck or back pain that stems from a spinal joint. The facet joints link the vertebrae together, providing stability to the spine and facilitating a wide range of motion. If a facet joint becomes inflamed due to trauma, repetitive use or age-related wear and tear, it may cause localized tenderness as well as pain, numbness and tingling sensations that radiate beyond the site of inflammation.
Because facet joint pain often responds well to conservative treatment, most physicians advise their patients to try a brief period of rest, medications, ice applications and/or physical therapy before considering facet joint injections or surgery.
How Can Facet Joint Injections Reduce Pain
Commonly referred to as a facet block, a facet joint injection aims to “block” the pain being generated by an inflamed spinal joint. Typically, when performing this procedure, a physician will:
- Numb the skin and tissue above the targeted joint by injecting a local anesthetic
- Utilize an X-ray imaging technique (fluoroscopy) to precisely guide a thin needle through the numbed tissue and into the joint
- Inject a contrast dye to confirm that the needle is properly positioned
- Inject a mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medications directly into the inflamed facet joint
Facet joint injections can provide lasting but temporary relief, with the numbing and pain-blocking effects typically becoming apparent within a few days. The result can help a physician confirm that the treated facet joint is the source of the pain. In other words, if a facet block does not make any difference, the physician will explore other possible causes.
Are Facet Joint Injections Right For You?
If you’re wondering whether you could benefit from a facet injection, you are encouraged to talk with an expert at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Cleveland, OH. Our experienced team offers a full range of treatments – both conservative and surgical – for neck and back pain. After evaluating your diagnosis, we can recommend an individualized treatment plan to help you find the relief you need.
To schedule an appointment with a spine specialist at Cleveland Medical Institute, contact us today at (440) 944-1414.