Precision Pain and Spine Institute Now Offering Facet Joint Injections

Precision Pain and Spine Institute is pleased to announce the availability of new facet joint injections at our four convenient locations. These injections can help relieve pain and improve mobility in patients. The facet joints are located at each segment of the spine, where they help guide motion and provide stability. These joints can become painful because of a back injury, arthritis of the spine, or other stress to the back.

A thoracic, lumbar, or cervical facet joint injection involves injecting a small amount of a numbing agent or steroid medication (or both) to block pain. The pain relief can help a patient tolerate physical therapy, so they can continue rehabilitating a back condition or injury. The goals of this treatment are to identify the cause and location of the pain and provide relief.

Facet joint injections can help your doctor determine the cause of your pain: the amount of pain relief you experience tells them whether the facet joint is the real source of your pain. For instance, if numbing the facet joint brings about complete pain relief, the facet joint is the likely source of the pain. Along with the anesthetic, these injections often include steroids that reduce inflammation and provide longer-term relief from pain.

Anatomy of the facet joint
The facet joints are paired along the vertebrae with one joint on each side. These joints are cushioned with cartilage and surrounding capsules filled with synovial fluid to minimize friction between the bones. Cervical facet joints are situated on the front or back of the neck. Lumbar facet joints are in the lower back, while thoracic facet joints are in the upper back.

The location of the pain depends on which joints are affected. Pain in the head, neck, arm, or shoulder is likely to be caused by the cervical facet joints. Pain in the chest, upper back, or arm is more likely to be caused by the thoracic facet joints. If your pain is in your lower back, buttock, hip, or leg, it is probably because of lumbar facet joints.

The facet joint injections procedure
A facet joint injection is a simple procedure performed using x-ray technology for guidance. Sedation is not usually needed. The patient lies on the table, and the skin in the area being treated is numbed. The practitioner directs a tiny needle into the facet joint and injects a mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication. The entire procedure typically takes half an hour or less, with the injection itself taking only a few minutes.

After the injection, the patient remains in a resting position for 20 to 30 minutes before leaving. They may not experience pain relief immediately, or they may; it depends on whether the joints targeted are the source of their pain. The procedure does not require any significant downtime, but patients should avoid strenuous activities for a day or so.

If you have questions about facet joint injections and whether they may be right for you, contact Precision Pain and Spine Institute today.

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