FAQ’s on Facet Injections
What is a facet injection?
These are medication injections used for the facet joints of the spine. Facet joints are located in between each of the spinal vertebrae, and there are two at each level from the tail bone through the neck. The purpose of the facet joints is to allow each vertebra to move against the one above or below it without causing bone damage.
Above and below the facet joints, nerve roots emanate from each spinal level. When facet joints are arthritic or have inflammation within them, the nerves can become compressed in addition to pain felt in the spine.
The facet joint injection is made up of a mixture of steroid medication and local anesthetic and is given to provide relief for patients who are suffering from back or neck pain due to facet joint degeneration. The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia, but some patients may require intravenous sedation in order to make the procedure tolerable.
What can a facet injection treat?
This type of injection is aimed at reducing the swelling and the inflammation of the tissues that are in and around the space of the facet joint. This will help in the reduction of pain and the other symptoms that are caused by irritation and inflammation of the facet join and the surrounding structures.
Essentially it treats facet arthritis. These joints are subject to degeneration of the cartilage, just like other joints of the body. Even though they are only about the size of a thumbnail, they are still able to produce very significant pain!
Who are the candidates for facet injections?
Facet injections are recommended for patients who are suffering from either arthritic inflammation of, or damage to, the facet joints. Often, patients experience pain due to thickened facet joints that are painful during movement.
Facet injections are also performed for patients with facet joints issues that have been diagnosed by X-ray, or who are experiencing painful inflammation in the facet joints. Patients that receive facet injections have often initially tried other forms of treatment unsuccessfully, such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical or chiropractic therapy.
Patients who are experiencing one or more conditions related to the facet joints will be carefully examined by a physician to diagnose the exact source of their pain. One of the main reasons for a facet injection is for diagnostic purposes. If a facet injection provides significant pain relief, then the joint injected can be ascertained as a source of pain.
Facet injections involve the inserting of a needle through the deeper tissues of the skin. This procedure is performed with the patient lying prone on the stomach. There may be cervical or neck facet injections delivered with the patient in other positions to provide access to these areas. Facet injections are performed under X-ray guidance.
Usually, pain management doctors will inject some dye to ensure proper needle location. Once assured, then the steroid and numbing medicine are injected. The procedure is usually very quick.
What are the risks of a facet injection?
There is a small chance of bleeding, swelling, or infection at the needle injection site. There is also the small risk of the physician missing the intended facet joint. The needle doesn’t go into the spinal canal, so there’s only a miniscule risk of nerve damage.
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic back or neck pain, pain management clinics in Denver can help. Facet joint injections help decrease pain and increase function. They are extremely effective, while being very low risk.
Call Colorado Pain today to be connected with Denver pain management that is expert, caring and compassionate!