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 a lot 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.
Facet block injections have been proven effective for millions of sufferers. This form of treatment offers quick relief and doesn’t require any sedation. It’s a lot safer than surgery and has long-lasting effects.
How Do Facet Block 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 block 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.
Facet block injections work in several ways. First of all, they help detect the source of pain by placing numbing medicine into the joints. Additionally, the cortisone injected into the affected area helps suppress inflammation, which further helps reduce pain.
In general, 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 and involves a combination of time-release steroids and anesthetic medication. It takes about 30 minutes and provides pain relief for nine months to one year and a half.
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 at back by facet joints. These tissues 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, upper 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 Facet Block Injections
Facet block injections can reduce pain and improve your range of motion. The corticosteroids injected into your facet joints relieve swelling and inflammation, decreasing the severity of symptoms. This procedure works best when combined with an exercise program and physiotherapy.
Most patients can return home between one and three hours after treatment. However, some may not be able to resume their daily activities right away. For optimum results, you’ll need several injections. As a rule of thumb, avoid driving and performing strenuous activities right away.
A major advantage of this treatment is its high safety profile. Some patients may experience allergic reactions to the steroids used, but this side effect is rare. Infection, bleeding, and nerve damage is unlikely to occur as long as the procedure is carried out by an experienced medical professional.
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.
Interested to find out more about this treatment method? Contact us at 347-252-6732 today! At Unique Pain Medicine, our mission is to help you live pain-free and feel your best.