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What are Facet Joint Injections and How Do They Help Me?

It’s natural to get discouraged when you spend your days with chronic back pain that doesn’t improve with conventional medical care. But don’t give up searching for solutions. Instead, connect with the team at Integrative Pain & Spine Institute.

Dr. Manvar specializes in diagnosing and treating back pain caused by facet joint disorders. We offer a range of advanced interventional services, including facet joint injections that achieve optimal pain relief.

Here’s what you need to know about facet joints conditions and how injections ease your pain.

Facet joint injection - Wikipedia

What Are Facet Joint Injections?

Facet joints have an important job; they connect the vertebrae in your spine. They support movement, transfer pressure between bones, and maintain spinal stability.

Though they’re small, the facet joints are similar to joints like your knees. They’re supported by strong ligaments and have tissues lining the joint that produce lubricating and nourishing fluids. The bones also have a layer of protective cartilage that allows smooth movement.

Any of the structures that make up the facet joint can become damaged or inflamed and cause chronic pain. When that happens, a facet joint injection may be the solution you need.

You may suffer an injury that damages the joint or have an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation. The facet joints are also affected by degenerative disc disease, potentially leading to a slipped disc. However, we most often perform facet joint injections to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.

How Do Facet Joint Injections Relieve Pain?

Treatment for facet joint pain begins with conservative care. But when medications and physical therapy fail to help, an injection can give you the relief you need.

Facet joint injections are a treatment for chronic pain in the back or neck. The injection is given into the facet joints, which are the joints that connect the vertebrae in your spine. Facet joint injections can be done with or without steroids. Facet joint injections are performed with local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the injection site make the procedure quick and simple without much pain.

Injections are highly effective because the medication goes directly to the source or your pain: the facet joint. Your facet joint injection contains two medications: a local anesthetic and sometimes with steroids.

As soon as the anesthetic reaches nerves in the joint, it blocks pain signals and quickly eases your pain. The results of an anesthetic don’t last long, but then the steroids take over. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines. They need a few days to work, but once the inflammation goes down, you get longer-lasting pain relief.

Each person has a different response to steroids, but your results may last up to several months. As the results wear off, you can get up to three additional injections over the course of a year to maintain the same level of pain relief.

What Can I Expect After Facet Joint Injections?

Facet joint injections are usually done on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home the same day. The injection itself takes only a few minutes.  Most people experience relief from their pain within 20-30 minutes.  These injections block the nerves going to the joint.  If you get good relief in this short period of time you may be a candidate for a Radiofrequency Ablation which can provide longer-lasting relief.  Otherwise, if you get significant pain relief for a long time after a facet joint injection it can be repeated as needed.

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