Your facet joints are essential to a healthy spine. Each joint provides stability and helps aid proper motion in the body. However, facet joints may become damaged from a traumatic incident, such as a car accident, or slowly lose function from degenerative disorders like arthritis.
Facet joint injections provide relief for afflicted patients. During this procedure, doctors administer a local anesthetic or steroid medication in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar joints to block pain. These injections help patients to begin a long-term physical therapy program to promote their spine rehabilitation.
Following a facet joint injection, if the patient’s pain disappears, it will help the doctor confirm that irritated facet joints were the cause of the back and spinal pain.
Facet joint injections are minimally-invasive outpatient procedures that can be performed in just a couple hours. The procedure itself usually takes less than 15 minutes.
To start, patients usually receive a local anesthetic, but in some cases they may opt for general sedation. In the case of general sedation, the procedure will take a little longer, as your team must monitor you as you come out of anesthesia. To begin the procedure, patients will lie face down on the examination table. The area to be injected will be cleaned and numbed with a topical numbing agent before a local anesthetic is administered.
The doctor will insert a needle using fluoroscopy to ensure proper placement. Once the needle is in place, also guided by a fluoroscopic dye, an anesthetic and a steroid will be injected into the facet joint. The steroid reduces the inflammation and irritation and the anesthetic works to numb the pain. The combined medicine then spreads to other levels and portions of the spine, reducing inflammation and irritation.
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In addition to treating facet joint degeneration, facet joint injections help treat pain due to the following conditions:
Facet joint injections can do more than treat pain. They can also help your doctor diagnose an underlying condition. If a facet joint injection successfully blocks your pain, this can be valuable information for your doctor.
Your back pain may improve immediately after the injection as a result of the local anesthetic. It is important to keep track of how you feel for the rest of the day. We encourage you to move around and do your usual activities, provided they are not too strenuous. It is important that you keep track of the amount of pain relief you feel as well as how long the relief lasts.
Some local tenderness may be experienced for a couple of days after the injection. Using an ice pack three or four times a day may help alleviate this. We would like you to hold off taking pain medication the day of procedure so you will be able to accurately see how much of your pain is relieved by the procedure alone. Your feedback about pain relief after the procedure will guide us in deciding the next step in your treatment.
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Don’t let a fear of needles keep you from discovering all the benefits a spinal injection can offer. It goes beyond pain relief, although that is the main reason to look into such treatment:
Facet injections can also be a temporary treatment that allows you to participate in physical therapy and exercise for long-term relief. Some back pain conditions, for example, require physical therapy to correct the underlying cause of pain. However, your back pain may make exercise impossible. Facet joint injections can relieve pain and inflammation and allow you to begin physical therapy sooner.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedics, we only entrust state-of-the-art equipment and procedures in our aim to help our patients recover faster and live a pain-free life. Our board-certified surgeons and medical experts are successful leaders in the healthcare industry and believe that everyone deserves access to quality care.
Don’t endure any more painful knots and sensitive muscle spasms. If traditional treatment methods are not alleviating your trigger point pain, it may be time to speak with a physician about getting an injection to calm these hot spots and let your body recover. Try our free Treatment Finder tool or call (866) 272-9271 to begin seeking the best solution to your pain.
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Effective pain relief; less scarring— a postage stamp-sized incision (less than an inch in length) is often all that it takes to eliminate your pain.
Our minimally invasive and outpatient procedures will have you back in the comfort of your home on the very same day.
Our surgeons use advanced video-assisted technology to optimize the effectiveness of your procedure while minimizing post-operative pain.
Our board certified surgeons are skilled in the latest minimally invasive techniques to deliver lasting solutions to your neck & back pain.
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