Facet joints are small joints on the spine that help with movement and stability. When a person has an injury or goes under prolonged stress on the back, they may start to experience pain in the facet joints. This also happens with arthritis of the spine and natural causes such as wear and tear.
Pain from one or more facet joints may spread to other body parts, causing chronic pain for sufferers.
Facet joint injections, otherwise known as Facet blocks, are treatments that provide long-term relief for facet joint pain. They primarily help patients who cannot endure the physical therapy they need due to their pain. After these injections, the relief allows them enough go through necessary treatments for rehabilitation
These injections are administered through a minimally invasive procedure and help your physician know the exact spot on the spine where the pain occurs. This means that facet joint injections are given with two goals in mind:
- For diagnostics: The physician administers an anesthetic on the pain point, and if the patient gets a lot of relief immediately, this will help confirm that the exact moment of application is the most likely cause of pain.
- For extended pain relief: Facet joint injections contain cortisone, an agent that fights inflammation and sometimes provides extended relief from pain.
Types of Facet Joint Injections
Different forms of facet joint injections exist, and the type to be administered depends on the location of the pain. Irrespective of this, the facet joint injection is typically an anesthetic and a steroid medication that helps with inflammation.
By reducing inflammation, nerve pressure-inducing pain is also relieved. Depending on the location of the pain, these are the types of facet joint injections that can be prescribed:
- Cervical facet joint injections are used for pain around the upper neck area. Pain from these joints may be felt in the head, neck or arms. The injection is administered around the upper spine area.
- Thoracic facet joint injections are prescribed for pain in the upper spine and below the neck area. The injection is administered around the upper and middle spine area.
- Lumbar facet joint injections are administered around the lower part of the spine as lumbar facet joint pains cause pain in the lower body.
What to expect after Facet Joint Injections
The procedure for getting facet joint injections lasts for around half an hour. As earlier mentioned, it is minimally invasive, and patients have nothing to worry about. Here are some things to expect
- The patient will be asked after the procedure to make regular movements that would usually cause pain. This is done to confirm that the exact pain point was located.
- Pain levels may range from zero to minimal immediately after the procedure but may heighten for a few days, as the steroids take a while to kick in. Patients can expect total relief in less than a week after the injections.
- There may be mild weakness or numbness around the site of the injection. This is a relatively normal bodily reaction to steroids.
- Strenuous physical activity is not recommended for the first few days. As the pain lessens, one can undertake daily activities to confirm that the injection was administered in the right area.
- Follow-up appointments with the physician are required. Patients are advised to keep a journal logging pain levels during recovery and any other symptoms.
Are you experiencing chronic pain and in need of effective relief? Book an appointment with us at Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center. We offer advanced treatment options with quality and empathetic care. Begin here today.