The number of Americans suffering from severe joint pain increased from 10.4 million in 2002 to 14.6 million in 2014. Today, it’s even higher. Despite a large number of treatment options available, only a few actually work. Additionally, they’re often inadequate and fail to address the underlying cause of joint pain.
Medial Branch Blocks, also known as Facet Joint Injections have been proven effective for millions of sufferers. This form of treatment offers quick relief and accurate diagnostic value. It’s a lot safer than surgery and may provide long lasting relief.
How Do Medial Branch Blocks / Facet Joint Injections Work?
This minimally invasive procedure works by blocking pain signals. It’s used to relieve pain and determine whether or not your symptoms originate from the facet joints, which are found on each side of the vertebra. Therefore, it’s both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Depending on how many joints are involved, you may require one or more injections.
The effectiveness of facet joint injections is confirmed by research. This treatment method has been shown to provide short- and long-term pain relief. Some patients experience major improvements for three months or longer.
Medial Branch Blocks work in several ways. First of all, they help detect the source of pain by placing numbing medicine into the joints. Additionally, the medication injected into the affected area helps suppress inflammation, which further helps reduce pain.
Usually patients receive several injections during the same procedure. This allows doctors to identify the source of pain. The procedure is performed under X-ray guidance. There is generally no down time with the procedure and patients may return to work the same day.
What Are Facet Joints?
In order to understand how this procedure works, it’s necessary to know a thing or two about facet joint anatomy. Your spine consists of bones that are arranged one on top of the other. They are all linked by facet joints. These joints help guide motion and stabilize the spine.
Injuries, wear and tear, arthritis, and other factors can affect your facet joints, causing debilitating pain that can spread in the neck, shoulders, head, back, and lower body. The muscles surrounding these joints can become tight and sensitive to touch. You may have a hard time twisting your back, bending backward and forward, standing up straight, and performing certain movements.
The Benefits of Medial Branch Blocks / Facet Joint Injections
Facet joint injections can reduce pain and improve your range of motion. The medication injected into the facet joints relieve swelling and inflammation, decreasing the severity of symptoms. This procedure works best when combined with an exercise program and physiotherapy.
A major advantage of this treatment is its high safety profile. Complications from a facet joint injection are extremely rare.
With a few exceptions, facet block injections are safe for most people. If you suffer from diabetes or take antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, consult your doctor before undergoing the procedure.
If a facet joint injection relieves your pain, you may be a candidate for a Radiofrequency ablation. This procedure can allow you to live pain free from 9 months to 2 years.
Interested to find out more about this treatment method? Contact us at 929-363-0303 or book an appointment today! At Unique Pain Medicine, our mission is to help you live pain-free and feel your best.