Facet joints are joints in between sets of vertebrae in your spine, from your neck down to your tailbone. Facet joints are what allows each vertebra to move against the one below and above it. Facet injections are used to administer medicine into facet joints that are swollen or inflamed.
The injections can help decrease the pain and discomfort caused by the inflammation or swelling of the facet joints.
Do you need a Facet Injection?
Some patients who may be able to benefit from facet injections are those with arthritic or swollen/inflamed facet joints and are experiencing chronic pain in their back or neck. Movement such as twisting or turning your back or neck can worsen the pain in your facet joints. Trauma to the neck or spine such as whiplash can injure your facet joints.
Many patients get a facet injection after being unsuccessful with other treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, or anti-inflammatory medicine. We will give you an X-Ray to check your facet joints for inflammation or swelling to help determine if an injection is necessary.
Facet Injection procedure
Facet injections only take 10-20 minutes to administer. Patients are given a local anesthetic to numb both the skin and deep tissue to minimize discomfort. Your physician will use a X-Ray to guide them to the injection point. We will clean your skin or neck with antiseptic, and do an injection into each facet joint one at a time. The injections are limited to 3-4 in a single visit, and only one side of your back or neck is treated per session.
Immediately after the procedure, you may notice that your pain is gone. This is a result of the anesthetic. You will likely experience some soreness for a couple of days after the injection from the needle. If you were sedated during the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home. Patients who were not sedated are typically able to drive afterwards.
You should take it easy for the first few days following your procedure. You can ice the injection spot if you are sore or experience pain.
How long do Facet Injections last?
You should start to feel the effects of your facet injection in 2-7 days. It can last for weeks up to a few months. Depending on your circumstances, you may only require one injection per facet joint/group ever.
These injections are mostly used as a way to diagnose whether or not a specific joint or facet group is the cause of the pain in your back or neck. Once you have been diagnosed, you will most likely be recommended for facet rhizotomy.
Our qualified pain relief experts lead by Dr. Zarrini will be able to thoroughly examine your condition and recommend the best course of action.