Often times, patients experience pain in the cervical and lumbar regions. The cervical region’s pain localizes within the neck. The centralized pain in the lumbar region is lower back as well as the middle area. A common cause of these particular types of pains in these specific regions is due to facet joints. Located on both sides of the spine vertebrae, the facet joints connect the vertebrae on the top as well as the bottom. Testing for a facet joint block in these two regions of the neck and back performed diagnostically as well as therapeutically. Once a positive diagnosis of a facet joint block is determined, a facet joint block injection relieves pain as well as swelling.
To help with discomfort and pain during the facet joint block injection, a local anesthetic shot numbs a small section of the skin. The injection placed directly inside the facet joint and the correct positioning of the needle is vital to eject the contrast dye. In order to ensure correct positioning, a fluoroscopic x-ray guides the needle into the joint. Through the small needle, a mixture of numbing anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid dispensed to the painful joint area. As far as the number of injections, a patient can receive more determined by the location of the painful joint. The diagnosis of whether the pain is caused by the facet joints, reveals itself if the pain goes away after the injections.
The purpose of the facet joint injection is to alleviate pain and inflammation in the neck and back regions. Even though the pain diminishes after the injection, it will not stay away completely. In fact, the first sign of pain occurs once the local anesthetic wears off. A facet joint injection takes about five to 10 days in order for the full effect of the steroid to ease pain and swelling. Three facet joint injections allowed per year per patient.