This treatment does not provide permanent pain relief. Patients may receive one or two repeated injections over a six-month period. It is not recommended that a patient receive more than three injections in this time period. If the facet joint block is effective in relieving pain, the procedure may be repeated up to three times a year.
How many facet injections do I need? For any particular facet joint, you may actually only need one injection. Facet injections are often considered diagnostic injections, used to confirm that a particular facet joint or group of joints is the actual cause of neck or back pain. Once this confirmation has been made, most patients undergo a facet rhizotomy, during which a small nerve branch that goes to the individual facet joint is electrically heated or burned to reduce sensitivity in the facet joint for a much longer period of time than the usual facet injections last. Of course, for all facet joints to be affected, several visits may be necessary.
Similarly, some patients who get a very prolonged response with simple facet injections may choose to repeat them instead of undergoing a facet rhizotomy, although that is the exception, not the rule. Facet joint injections are one of the most frequently performed procedures among all spinal interventions. Facet joint pain may be due to osteoarthritis, segmental instability, trauma, pinched meniscoid, and inflammatory synovitis. Patients with facet joint pain may have symptoms of neck pain, back pain, and pain that worsens with hyperextension, lateral flexion, and rotation.
Facet joint injections are usually done to diagnose and control facet joint pain (also known as lumbar spondylosis or cygapophysial joint pain). Sometimes contrast material is injected into the joint and the placement of the needle is confirmed by radiographs or CT scans in real time. Minimally invasive image-guided procedures, such as facet joint blockages, are usually performed on an outpatient basis by an interventional radiologist. The facet joint has many functions, including limiting excessive movement, distributing axial load, and preventing intervertebral joint displacement due to rotational and forward movements.
The patient should be advised that pain relief with an injection into the facet joint is variable and that the injections may need to be repeated due to the transient nature of the improvement in pain. It should be noted that intra-articular injection of the facet joint does not serve as a diagnostic block in preparation for radiofrequency ablation. Considering that doctors can recommend facet joint injections as often as three times a year, a positive result can be expected to last about four months. In a facet joint block, the doctor uses a fluoroscopy or a CT scan to guide the insertion of the needle through the skin until it reaches the facet joint.
Therefore, performing facet joint injections with image guidance has become a valuable tool for diagnosing facet joint pain and may provide therapeutic benefits. They protrude from the vertebrae and meet the facet joints of the vertebra, either below or above them. Other causes of facet joint pain include degenerative spondylolisthesis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and septic arthritis. .