At each segment of the spine are small joints that aid in stability and guide spinal motion. If these joints become inflamed through disease or injury, then movement can become painful. Thankfully, there is a treatment for this inflammation known as facet joint injection which involves an injection of anesthetic or steroid medication that serves to soothe the joints and block the pain. Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin has been serving patients at the Khavkin Clinic for years and is ready to help you.
Are Facet Joint Injections Only Used To Treat Pain?
The answer here is both yes and no. Facet joint injections are not given in cases where the pain is not present, but when administered actually serve two purposes.
- Relief From Pain: As the primary purpose of the procedure, pain relief is sought. The injection administers a steroid in a time-release form (cortisone) that helps reduce inflammation and can lead to long-term relief.
- Diagnosis: Additionally the application of a facet joint injection can determine if these are in fact the pain’s source. If the pain is completely eliminated by this procedure it is almost certain that this is the source of the pain.
Facet Joint Anatomy
Located on both sides of the neck and back at each vertebral level, these joints are comprised of two pieces of cartilage and a capsule that surrounds them filled with synovial fluid. These components aid in the reduction of friction in the bones. The joints are throughout the spine and are classified by their location, with cervical facet joints being located in the neck, the thoracic joints in the upper back, and the lumbar joints being located near the base of the spine.
Facet Joint Injection Procedure
The process itself is an easy, uncomplicated procedure that is typically performed in the office or ambulatory surgical center. As is typical of most injections in the spine, they are performed with a fluoroscopy in most cases to aid in hitting the intended target. This aspect of the procedure helps to ensure that no further injury is done to the affected areas.
- Facet Joint Injection Is Typically Performed Without Sedation
- The Site Is Thoroughly Cleansed While The Patient Lies Down
- The Injection Site Is Then Numbed With An Anesthetic.
- Fluoroscopy Is Then Used To Guide The Needle In The Target Joint
- An Injection Of Contrast Dye Confirms The Needle Is In The Right Spot
- Once Confirmed The Anesthetic Is Injected, Paired With Anti-Inflammatory Medicine
The patient will then remain resting in the recovery area for a period of up to thirty minutes, after which they will perform some basic movements that would have caused them pain previously. Some patients feel relief immediately, others may take some time to experience relief. The injection can leave the patient with some odd sensations, including numbness or weakness in the target area.
Once they’ve gone home patients will typically be advised to avoid pain medication so as not to confuse the results of the procedure. If you think you may benefit from facet joint injections, or have any further questions, meet with your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV to get a consultation today.