When a facet joint injection may be required

Someone who has experienced trauma to the neck and/or spinal cord may also want to consider a facet joint block if the pain is severe or chronic. Trauma to the neck or spine such as whiplash can injure your facet joints. Without treatment, simple movements like twisting or turning can worsen pain in the facet joints of the neck or back. Chronic pain sufferers who have conditions that cause swelling or inflammation of facet joints in the neck or back are good candidates for facet joint injections.

Often, those who opt for a facet joint block are those who find that other therapies or medications have not been successful in relieving their pain. At Interventional Pain Professionals of Florida, we’ll use an MRI to help in the diagnosis of your pain and confirm if a facet joint injection is the best treatment for you.

What to expect during facet joint injection therapy

A facet joint block can be done as an in office procedure. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the skin and deep tissues, minimizing discomfort. The doctor uses fluoroscopy to aid in guiding them to the needed injection area. The procedure is done with precision, that can be done unilaterally or bilaterally in the neck or the back.

Once the procedure is done, you might mistake the lingering effects of the local anesthesia for the absence of your facet pain. But, in all likelihood, you’ll feel some soreness during the next day or two that is the result of the needle used during treatment. Icing the area of injection should relieve this discomfort. Get plenty of rest and relaxation for a few days after the treatment.

Those who undergo local anesthesia can generally drive themselves home after their facet joint injection treatment. However, if you decide to opt for full sedation while undergoing your facet joint block, make sure that a friend or relative accompanies you in order to drive you home afterward.

What to expect from your facet joint injection therapy

Between two and seven days, the benefits of pain relief from the facet joint injection treatment should be in full effect, lasting for multiple weeks to as many as three months. The need for return visits for facet joint block treatment will depend on your particular situation. It’s very possible that one treatment visit will do the trick for you.

Keep in mind that facet joint injection treatment is usually done in order to identify whether or not a particular facet joint or grouping of facet joints is causing your pain. When the diagnosis is determined, it is very likely that a minimally invasive procedure may be recommended. 

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