Facet joint injections are a pain management procedure to alleviate chronic back and neck pain. These injections target the facet joints causing pain due to degeneration, wear down, or trauma.
Chronic pain can significantly impact your quality of life by reducing your mobility, altering your sleep, and hindering your ability to perform daily activities.
Facet joint injections offer multiple benefits compared to regular surgical procedures, including a significant reduction in pain during the procedure, correlated risks, and recovery time.
Our team at Spinal Diagnostics is dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized care to patients with spinal health issues.
The facet joints are located in between the vertebrae in your spine. They are in charge of allowing movement and providing stability to the torso. Facet joint pain may arise due to cartilage degeneration, inflammation, arthritis, or physical trauma.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Localized pain in the back or neck
- Stiffness in the lumbar area
- Limited range of motion in the spine
Facet joint injections can help reduce swelling in the affected joints, relieving pain. The injected medication is often a combination of local anesthetics and corticosteroids, which help reduce inflammation and irritation.
Compared to other treatments, facet joint injections offer long-term pain relief since it aims to reduce pain and swelling for extended periods (from weeks to months). Reducing joint pain leads to improved mobility, better sleep, and overall well-being.
Before the Procedure
Before your facet joint injection procedure, you must provide your doctor with relevant information regarding your medical history, including any medications you may be taking, allergies, or medical conditions. This helps to ensure safety and optimal recovery during the treatment process.
We recommend arranging transportation with a family member or close friend beforehand since driving right after the procedure is not advised.
During the Procedure
The whole procedure lasts from 15 to 30 minutes. Here is a step-by-step process for facet joint injections:
- Anesthesia: Your doctor will numb the area where the incision will be made to minimize discomfort.
- Imaging for needle placing: Your doctor will guide the needle into the targeted joints using digital imaging, such as X-rays. This helps ensure precise needle placement.
- Medication injection: When the needle has been properly placed, the anesthetic and inflammatory medication will be injected into the joints. Once this is performed, the needle will be removed.
After the Procedure
Following the procedure, your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, or any activities that may interfere with your spinal mobility.
Depending on your body's reaction, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory and non-opioid pain medications to manage discomfort.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, facet joint injections offer multiple benefits, including:
- Targeted pain relief in the specific joints that are causing discomfort
- Inflammation reduction in the affected joints
- Minimal nerve and tissue disruption
- Long-lasting relief
- Shorter recovery time compared to regular surgical procedures
The side effects that may arise due to facet joint injections are usually temporary and do not need medical attention. Signs such as mild soreness or bruising at the injection site or a temporary increase in pain are normal and typically resolve independently without needing medication.
Although rare, some potential risks and side effects associated with facet joint injections can include the following:
- Injection site infection: Some of the most common signs include redness, swelling, or constant drainage
- Nerve damage: Some symptoms of this complication include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs or spine
- Allergic reactions: Difficulty breathing and swelling may indicate an allergic reaction