Facet Joint Injections are provided to confirm that the facet joints are causing the pain and to relieve back or neck pain and inflammation. Each vertebra in the spine is connected by two facet joints. A local anesthetic numbs the skin and tissue down to facet joint.
The physician then uses fluoroscopy and contrast solution to confirm the correct placement of the needle tip. A mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medications is injected into the joint. Sometimes two or more injections might be needed. If the patient feels pain relief just after injection, this confirms that the facet joint was the source of pain.
However the pain may return after the local anesthetic wears off with improvement over time as the anti-inflammatory medication begins to work. Usually it takes about a week to reduce inflammation and pain. Pain relief can last up to several months.
FACET JOINT INJECTION SIDE EFFECTS:
Possible side effects could be compared with common injection side effects, i.e. allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or bleeding in seldom cases. Steroids side effects are facial, eye, arms, or legs swelling and elevated sugars for diabetic patients.
It is very important that the patient inform the physician about pregnancy or if he/she is taking blood thinning medication.