Facet Joint Injections

Found on either sides of the rear of the spinal cord is the facet joints. These joints can become extremely painful when irritated or when inflamed. A facet joint injection can be administered by a physician to help diagnose the origin of the patient’s discomfort, the procedure can also help alleviate pain and inflammation.

Numbed Skin

Prior to commencing with the procedure, the doctor injects a local anesthetic to desensitize the skin and tissue on top of the facet joint.

Placement Confirmed

The doctor inserts a contrast solution via the needle.  The doctor utilizes a fluoroscope (a kind of x-ray equipment) to ensure that the end of the needles is accurately in place within the epidural space.

Medication Injected

Following the careful validation of the needles exact position, the doctor positions a steroid-anesthetic medication.  This prescription bathes the inflamed nerve roots which will help ease the pain being experienced by the patient.  A single or multiple facet joints may be treated at the same time. In the event that the patient responds positively to the treatment,  and the procedure causes the pain to lessen or go down, the experience only validates that the facet joint (single or multiple joints) injected were the original source of the pain the patient is experiencing.

End of Procedure

The pain at the back and neck may vanish, even immediately after a successful procedure due to the anesthetic that has been injected to the patient.  As the anesthetic gradually disappears, the pain experienced prior to the injection may come back.  As for the steroid, it will start to take effect during the number of days after the injection has been administered by the physician which will eventually help reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain.  The injection will bring relief, which can range from several days to an outstanding several months.  However, only three injections can be provided per patient per year.