Can You Eat Before Facet Joint Injections?

It is important to refrain from eating long before your appointment for a facet joint injection. You can, however, drink and eat immediately after the injection. If you take routine medications, you can take them on the day of the injection as scheduled. Do not consume solid foods or liquids after midnight before the procedure, unless otherwise directed.

You can take your medicines with a small amount of water. Diabetics should not take their diabetes medicines until the procedure is complete. Check your blood sugar level at home before you get to the Pain Management Center (PMC). If you are taking an anticoagulant such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or any other, you should stop taking these medications long before the procedure.

Our staff will tell you when to stop taking this medication. Make sure to inform your pain management doctor that you are taking an anticoagulant and contact your primary care doctor or the doctor who prescribed it for you before you stop taking this medication. If the injections are in the neck, you can take the medications as usual with a sip of water, but do not eat or drink for six hours before the procedure. You can eat, drink and take your medicines as usual on the day of the procedure (both before and after) if the injections are in your lower back.

Follow these instructions unless your doctor tells you otherwise. A medial branch block is similar, but the medication is placed outside the joint space, near the nerve that supplies the joint, called the medial branch (a steroid can be used or not). A lumbar facet joint block is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medication) into one or more of the small joints located along each vertebra, on both sides of the spine, in the lower back. Facet blocks and medial branch blocks are generally used in patients who have pain mainly in the back due to arthritic changes in facet joints or for mechanical low back pain.

A problem (such as inflammation, irritation, swelling, or arthritis) in the facet joint can cause lower back pain. The blockage can be performed at the level of the facet joint itself or at the level of the “nerve of the median branch” that provides sensitivity to the joint. To determine if a facet joint is really the source of back pain, an injection (sometimes called a blockage) may be prescribed. Once a facet joint is identified as a source of pain, therapeutic injections of anesthesia and anti-inflammatory medications can be administered to achieve pain relief for longer periods of time.

Facet joint injections or blockages can provide useful diagnostic information that can help a UPC pain specialist determine where spinal pain originates and whether facet joints are affected or not, in addition to providing short-term relief from symptoms. If pain recurs after a successful facet injection, additional procedures such as facet denervation or facet “rhizotomy” may be used to relieve symptoms in the long term.It is important to follow all instructions given by your doctor regarding eating and drinking before a facet joint injection. Eating and drinking too close to an injection could lead to complications during or after your procedure.

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