Facet joint injection is a long-term steroid treatment that is injected into the facet joints, mainly in the lumbar spine. These joints are located on each side of the vertebrae and injecting local anesthetics and steroids can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. To ensure accuracy, a pain specialist will use fluoroscopic guidance (X-rays) during the injection. Facet joints are paired joints in the back and neck, one pair at each vertebral level (one joint on each side of the vertebrae).
They are similar to the knee or hip, with cartilage between the bones and a capsule filled with fluid to allow for smooth movement. The injection is done close to the branches of the medial nerves, which supply sensory information to facet joints.
Facet joint injectionis used to treat neck and back pain in combination with other non-surgical treatments for the spine, such as rest, medications, chiropractic manipulations and physical therapy. The goal of this procedure is to provide pain relief so that the patient can better tolerate physical therapy to rehabilitate their back injury or condition.
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 those who have mechanical low back pain. If the injection does not relieve pain, it may be because it did not reach the source of the pain or because the pain is not caused by facet joints. The doctor will use X-rays to guide the needle into place before injecting a mixture of anesthetic and cortisone into the joint. This procedure is called facet intra-articular injection or simply injection into the facet joint.
It can be used to reduce pain caused by arthritis of the spine, a back injury, or mechanical strain on the back. Injecting into the facet joint reduces pain in these small joints at the back of the spine, between each vertebrae. A bilateral facet joint injection is a procedure in which analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications are injected into both sides of these joints to reduce pain. Contact National Spine & Pain Centers today to schedule an appointment with a pain specialist for treatment with facet joint injections.