Facet Joint Injections
A facet joint injection is a precise diagnostic tool that can also provide therapeutic results. Using fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance, your Pain Medicine Consultant is able to see and accurately target the affected joint(s). Facet joints are found in the neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic) and lower back (lumbar). They can become painful as a result of arthritis, injury or mechanical stress.
What Is A Facet Joint And How Will An Injection Help Relieve Pain?
Aligned on the back of the spinal column, facet joints link each vertebra together. Two nerves called “medial branches” supply each facet joint. These nerves carry pain signals to the spinal cord and these signals will eventually reach the brain. There are two reasons for doing facet joint injections:-
- Diagnosis: If the local anaesthetic in the injection relieves your pain then it suggests that the facet joints are a source of your pain. Repeating the procedure a second time improves accuracy of the diagnosis. This can guide future treatment such as Radiofrequency Rhizotomy.
- Therapy: The steroid in the injection can reduce inflammation and reduce the medial branch nerve sensitivity and provide long lasting pain relief. The duration of pain relief may vary from weeks to months.