How do you prepare for a facet joint injection?

Do not eat 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 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. Tell 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. Facet joint injections are a treatment for chronic pain in the back or neck.

The injection is given into facet joints, which are the joints that connect the vertebrae of the spinal column. Facet joint injections can be done with or without steroids. Steroids are anti-inflammatory medications that can help reduce pain and swelling. Facet joint injections can also be done with local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the injection site, or with light sedation that helps you feel more relaxed during the procedure.

As with many spinal injections, facet joint injections are best done using fluoroscopy (live radiography) as a guide to locating and positioning the needle correctly (and to help avoid nerve injury or other injury). Facet joint injection is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure and is usually done in an office procedure room or in an outpatient surgical center. Facet joint injections can also help determine what part of the pain can be attributed to arthritis. Facet joint injections are usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home the same day.

Facet joint blocks are usually ordered for patients who have pain mainly in the back as a result of arthritic changes in facet joints or for patients who have mechanical low back pain. 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.

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