Facet Joint Injections

The facet joints, found on both sides of the back of the spine, can become painfully irritated or inflamed. A facet joint injection may help diagnose the source of a patient’s pain. It can also relieve pain and inflammation.

What Are Facet Joint Injections?

Facet joint injections are a minimally invasive medical procedure used to diagnose and treat pain originating from the facet joints of the spine. These joints, also known as zygapophyseal joints, are located on the back of the spine and connect adjacent vertebrae. Facet joint injections involve the injection of medications, typically a combination of a local anesthetic and corticosteroid, directly into the facet joint or the surrounding area.

Conditions Treated with Facet Joint Injections:

Facet joint injections are primarily used to manage pain associated with conditions affecting the facet joints, including:

Facet Joint Syndrome: This condition involves the inflammation or degeneration of the facet joints, leading to localized pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Osteoarthritis: Facet joint injections can provide relief from the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis of the spine.

Facet Joint Block: Diagnostic facet joint injections can help identify the specific facet joint responsible for a patient's pain, allowing for targeted treatment.

How Do Facet Joint Injections Work?

A facet joint injection procedure usually takes 15 minutes or less. You will be prepared for a facet joint injection by lying face down on an X-ray table. Sedation can be delivered if necessary. The injection site is cleaned thoroughly before the injection, to reduce the risk of infection. A local anesthetic is then applied to numb the area.

Then, a fluoroscopic dye is injected so that your doctor can track the path of the needle using an X-ray. Once the needle is in the correct position, the medication is injected. The medication can be a steroid, a painkiller, or both. While the procedure usually takes under 15 minutes, you may stay longer so that any potential side effects can be monitored.

Facet joint injections are considered a minimally invasive, low risk procedure. While complications are usually not severe and are not common, they can include bleeding from the injection site, headaches, and infection at the injection site. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. This typically resolves within a week. Applying ice to the area for around 15 minutes at a time for the first couple of days after your procedure can significantly reduce soreness.

Benefits of Facet Joint Injections

  • Pain Relief: Facet joint injections can provide significant pain relief. They are particularly effective for localized pain in the neck, mid-back, or lower back caused by facet joint issues. The injected medications, which usually include a local anesthetic and corticosteroid, help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnostic facet joint injections help identify the source of pain, enabling more targeted and effective treatment.
  • Minimally Invasive: Facet joint injections are minimally invasive procedures. They involve only a small needle and do not require surgery. As a result, patients experience less discomfort, minimal scarring, and a shorter recovery period compared to more invasive treatments.
  • Improved Functionality: Pain relief from facet joint injections can enhance an individual's functionality and mobility. Reduced pain allows patients to engage in physical therapy and rehabilitation more effectively, leading to improved overall quality of life.
  • Reduced Reliance on Medications: Facet joint injections can reduce the need for pain medications, including opioids, which may have potential side effects and risks of addiction. This can be particularly important in the context of the opioid epidemic.
  • Avoidance of Surgery: For some individuals, successful pain management through facet joint injections may eliminate the need for more invasive surgical procedures, providing a less risky and more conservative treatment option.

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Your Path To Pain Relief

If you're considering facet joint injections or have questions about this procedure, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team at RelievUS. We are here to provide information, answer your questions, and support you on your journey to pain relief.

Please keep in mind that while facet joint injections can be an effective pain management option for many, they are not suitable for everyone. A thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider is essential to determine if this procedure aligns with your unique needs and medical history. At RelievUS, we are committed to helping you make informed decisions about your healthcare journey.

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