If you are living with ongoing joint pain from arthritis, thesem options provide excellent and quick pain relief. Arthritis is the condition that occurs when the smooth surface of joints breaks down and inflammation occurs. Facet joint injections are used primarily therapeutically. In addition, radiofrequency neurotomy (RF) of the medial branch nerves that carry the pain signals from the arthritic joints may be recommended for longer term, more definitive pain relief.
Lumbar and cervical facet joint pain is typically experienced like most arthritic pain - worse in the mornings, and with cold and weather changes. In addition, if there is arthritis in mone [part of the body such as the hands, then it is very likely that there is arthritis in other joints as well. Experts in diagnosing and treating facet syndrome and arthritis, our pain specialists integrate these tools into an individualized treatment plan to help you to regain your life.
What is a Facet Joint Injection?
A facet joint injection is a precise injection of steroid into a spinal joint. Using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, physicians are able to see and accurately target the affected joint(s). The Facet joints are the small joints located between each vertebra that provide the spine with both stability and flexibility. Facet syndrome occurs when one or more of these joints become inflamed, irritated, and degenerated.
Your doctor will review your medical history thoroughly before the procedure. You may be asked to undergo an imaging test to help your doctor plan for the treatment. The doctor might recommend you stop taking blood thinning medications 3 to 5 days before.
The procedure generally takes 15 minutes. You will lie face down on the table. The doctor uses fluoroscope (live X-ray) to direct the needle to the facet joint. Contrast is injected to visualize the flow into the joint. Steroid medication and anesthetic are delivered to the facet joint.
You will be monitored for a short while after the procedure, during your recovery period. You are encouraged to walk around immediately after the procedure. You may experience mild discomfort at the site of injection. Soreness in the injection site can be relieved by using ice packs. You will be advised to resume your normal activity. You may have to go to your doctor for a follow-up visit after a week of the procedure.
The risks associated with injections include bleeding, infection, allergic reaction and nerve damage. The steroid medication used might have some side effects such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, high blood sugar levels and sleeplessness.