The National Institutes of Health report back pain as one of the leading causes of disability in working adults. The neck and back are connected through seven vertebral segments, so neck discomfort commonly accompanies chronic back pain. This condition can restrict people from participating in activities or working a full-time job. Midstate Radiology Associates offer a solution called facet joint block, which can help you get back to your life.
What Is Facet Joint Block?
This injection of anti-inflammatory medication can relieve pain in the facet joints – pairs of joints located along the vertebrae. The facet joints allow our neck and back to move, while supporting the spine. The results of an injection can last anywhere from days to months, depending on your body’s reaction to the medication and your pain level.
Who Should Have This Procedure?
Anyone suffering from neck or back pain may benefit from a facet joint injection. This outpatient procedure can treat many conditions, including but not limited to:
- Spinal arthritis – pressure on the spinal nerves caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage
- Facet syndrome – pain at the joint between two vertebrae in your spine
- Degenerative disk disease – disk changes that make the spine less supportive and functional
- Cervicogenic headache indication – pain that is perceived in the head, but actually comes from tension in the neck. Cervicogenic headache is caused by a disorder of the cervical spine or the neck’s soft tissues. Numbing the area with a facet joint block can relieve the pain.
Facet joint block is also an effective way to determine the root cause of a patient’s chronic neck or back pain.
What You Can Expect
Once the appointment has been scheduled, you may be advised to stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (i.e. aspirin, ibuprofen) and blood thinners in the days leading up to your procedure.
Check with the facility prior to your facet joint injection for any dietary restrictions. If a contrast material is used to improve the appearance of x-rays, you will not be able to eat or drink for several hours beforehand. Arrive in loose, comfortable clothing, without jewelry.
The injection site will be cleaned and sterilized, then numbed with a local anesthetic. Fluoroscopy, an imaging procedure, will be used to locate the facet joint causing your pain and guide the needle for injection. There are no serious side effects to a facet joint block, but you may feel injection site soreness in the following days. Patients are advised to rest and avoid driving for 24 hours.
Does facet joint block sound like the right procedure for you? Contact us to make an appointment today!