Facet joints are the weight bearing joints in your spine which are created when two vertebrae sit on top of each other. There are many reasons why they may become inflamed and painful, and sometimes injection therapy can be useful in relieving this.
Facet Joint Injection
Facet joint injections are helpful in some people with chronic backache due to wear and tear of facet joints. A Facet joint injection is not a cure for the cause of your pain, but is used to greatly reduce pain, and may offer long term relief.
The injection involves injecting local anaesthetics and sometimes steroids into or around the facet joint. The local anaesthetics numb the nerves to the facet joint to give pain relief. The steroids reduce the inflammation and may make pain relief last longer.
A facet joint injection is a relatively simple procedure and takes less than 30 minutes. It is usually performed as an out-patient or day-case procedure. Your doctor will use antiseptic to clean the area and will inject a local anaesthetic to the clean area. This may sting for a moment but will make the area numb, with allowing your doctor to give you the facet joint injection will much less discomfort to you. Your doctor will then carefully insert the needle for the injection using either an ultrasound (the majority of cases) or x-ray to guide the needle.
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone and this is due to the local anaesthetic injected. After the procedure, you may feel some pain this is usually short-term and easily controlled with painkillers. There may also be some bruising and tenderness on your skin.
The pain relief may take days or weeks to take effect and may not be 100% effective. It is important to note that some people may not get any relief at all. The effectiveness of the
block is difficult to predict.