Facet Joint Injections at San Antonio Pain Clinics
Facet Joint Injections
Facet joints are small joints in the body that help provide stability and help guide motion for the patient. Inflammation or irritation of the facet joint can occur for many reasons: a back injury, mechanical stress, and the most common, arthritis of the spine.
Facet Joint Injections are injections given between the facet joints of the vertebra. The medications injected are fast-acting local anesthetic pain relievers and corticosteroids. They be administered in one of three ways: cervical, thoracic, or lumbar.
What can be gained from Facet Joint Injections?
The goal of a facet joint injection is to relieve the patient’s pain so that they may return to normal level of activity.
It is also used as a diagnostic tool. By injecting medicine to the joint, doctors will be able to determine if the facet joint was the source of pain. If pain symptoms are completely eliminated, the facet joint is a likely source of the pain.
How is the procedure performed?
Typically, a patient lies on their stomach, except for some cervical (neck) injections. An intravenous sedative is administered and the patient is monitored via BP cuff, EKG and O2 saturation clip. Then the physician, with the aid of fluoroscopy for accurate needle placement, injects the medication into the location. Often, several locations will be injected during each visit, but no more than three or four will be done at any one time.
How long do the Facet Joint Injections last?
The patient will feel almost immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic but relief from the corticosteroid may take longer. Some patients may require two or three visits to receive maximum benefit from the steroids.
After the local anesthetic wears off, the patient may experience increased pain in the injection site due to irritation from the needle. As the steroid takes effect, the pain will begin to dissipate. Relief from the injections varies from patient to patient, but most can expect to be virtually pain free for two to three weeks after each procedure.
What are the risks or side effects of Facet Joint Injections?
As with any medical procedure, there are side effects and risks involved. Temporary increased pain, bruising, bleeding, infection, worsening of symptoms, weight gain, increased blood sugar, and water retention are some of the side effects from the facet joint injections.
What conditions are treatable with Facet Joint Injections?
Patients with arthritis in the joint facet, chronic neck or back pain, or patients with a history of spinal injury (whiplash for example) are all candidates for facet joint injections.
How successful are Facet Joint Injections for the relief of pain?
Most patients can have a reasonable expectation for pain relief from facet joint injections. For many patients, the pain relief can last three to four weeks at a time and after several procedures, may experience relief from pain for longer periods.
If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Facet Injection, contact Consultants in Pain Medicine today. The practice has a Double Board Certified pain management doctor accepting over 50 insurance plans at multiple locations.
Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling!