Your spine is critical to your ability to move around. However, many factors can affect your spine’s health as you age. You may experience chronic back pain, making it difficult for you to do simple things like stand straight and stay active on your feet. Sometimes, pain relievers can help with pain symptoms, but in a lot of cases of chronic back pain, you will need something stronger than over-the-counter medications to get relief. When conservative treatments fail to work for back pain, your doctor may recommend a facet block injection.
What Is A Facet Block?
The facet joints connect the vertebrae in the spine. They come in pairs on the side of each vertebra, allowing for regular movements. These joints may experience pain and inflammation due to different medical conditions like spinal stenosis, sciatica, and arthritis. Mild discomfort may be eased using over-the-counter painkillers and rest. However, chronic pain despite medication and rest may need facet block injections for long-term relief.
A facet block injection is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat pain in the facet joints. It is administered directly in the affected area of the spine. Facet block injections deliver corticosteroids and anesthesia that work together to numb the affected joint, giving you relief for weeks or months at a time.
How is a Facet Block Injection Given?
To deliver a facet block injection, your doctor will ask you to lie face down on a table. They will clean your back and cover it with a surgical drape before numbing the injection site using a local anesthetic.
They will then use either a fluoroscopy or CT scan to guide the insertion of the 3.5- to 5-inch needle into the affected facet. Contrast dye may be used to confirm the position of the needle. Once verified, anesthesia and corticosteroids will slowly be injected into the affected joint.
After the injection is administered, your provider will apply pressure to the site and cover it with a bandage to prevent any further bleeding. A facet block injection is often done on an outpatient basis and takes about 30 minutes to complete. You will be asked to stay at the facility for a few hours for monitoring.
What Can A Facet Block Do?
There are two primary uses for a facet block injection:
The primary purpose of the facet block is to reduce inflammation to give you long-term pain relief. By treating pain, it makes it possible for patients to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation as well as carry on living life with minimal discomfort.
Locating the Pain Source
Likewise, the facet block also helps physicians identify the cause of your neck or back pain. They will be able to tell whether the pain comes from a specific facet joint based on whether your symptoms subside after the injection is administered.
Facet Block in Maryland
Back pain should not be ignored because it can be a symptom of a more severe condition. Always seek medical help when over-the-counter pain medications do not improve your situation within a few weeks.
The spine specialists at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics Spine Care in Columbia, Catonsville, and Eldersburg, Maryland, are board-certified doctors with years of experience diagnosing and treating spine conditions.
To make an appointment, please call us at (410) 644-1880. You may also use our online form to book an appointment.