Facet Joint Block for Pain Management
A facet joint block is a diagnostic and pain relieving injection that helps ease chronic back pain. Pain management specialists at Specialty Surgical Center may administer this injection to provide short-term pain relief and determine where in the spine a patient’s pain is coming from. Some patients may require multiple facet joint blocks over the course of several months for sustained pain relief. However, if the facet joint block injection is used for diagnostic purposes, the surgeon may recommend an alternative treatment once the source of the patient’s pain is located.
Facet joints are located in the spine between vertebrae. They help you move your spine easily and fluidly, but are also responsible for keeping the spine stable. As we get older, our facet joints begin to wear down, making them susceptible to degenerative and arthritic conditions that cause pain in lumbar (lower back), thoracic (upper back), and cervical (neck) back. A facet joint block injection is beneficial because the medication is injected directly into the affected area(s), providing much quicker pain relief than taking pain medications orally.
Your physician may have you change into a hospital gown to provide him or her easy access to your back. Then, the area is cleaned and sanitized to reduce the risk of infection. A physician will then inject a local anesthetic into the tissue around the affected facet joints to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
The physician may use a tool called a fluoroscope (X-ray imaging device) to ensure needle placement accuracy. Additional dyes that show up on the fluoroscope may be injected into the facet joint so the physician can confirm the needle is in the right place. Finally, an anesthetic and steroid solution will be injected through the needle to reduce inflammation and pain.
Side effects are minimal and usually only last a few days. Nevertheless, side effects from a facet joint block may include: tenderness around the injection site, fluid retention, increased blood pressure, or headaches. These side effects are typically rare, but your Specialty Surgical Center pain management specialist can review them with you and discuss whether you should continue taking your current pain medication or not.
For more information about facet joint blocks, talk to your pain management specialist today!
Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.
For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.