What is a facet block?
Facet joints are hinge-like joints that link vertebrae together. They are located on the sides of the vertebrae at each level of the spine. A facet block, therefore, is a procedure in which an injection is made into the facet joint that delivers a local anesthetic and / or steroid. Injections are used to reduce swelling and inflammation in and around the facet joints, which can reduce pain and improve mobility.
The facet joints, found on both sides of the back of the spine, can become painfully irritated or inflamed. A facet joint injection may help diagnose the source of a patient’s pain. It can also relieve pain and inflammation.
When administering an injection, imaging guidance will be used to determine the precise location for needle placement. As the needle is inserted through skin and deeper tissues there is some discomfort involved, although it is made more tolerable by first administering local anesthesia before inserting the needle or, in some cases, intravenous sedation. The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting and can be completed in approximately 10 or 20 minutes.
Facet Block Injections as Diagnostic Tests and Treatments
In many cases, facet block injections are administered as a diagnostic test to determine the source of your pain. If you respond to the medication, your pain can be localized and our team can further explore the precise condition causing your pain. Facet blocks may also be used to treat symptoms associated with facet joint arthritis.
CERVICAL FACET RADIOFREQUENCY NEUROTOMY AKA RHIZOTOMY
This minimally-invasive procedure, also called radiofrequency (or RF) rhizotomy, reduces or eliminates the pain of damaged facet joints by disrupting the medial branch nerves that carry the pain signals. This procedure is performed with local anesthetic.
LUMBAR FACET RADIOFREQUENCY NEUROTOMY AKA RHIZOTOMY
This minimally-invasive procedure, also called radiofrequency (RF) rhizotomy, reduces or eliminates the pain of damaged facet joints by disrupting the medial branch nerves that carry the pain signals. This procedure is performed with local anesthetic.
What to Expect
You may feel an absence of pain from the local anesthetic immediately following the injection. This will only last for a few hours before the pain returns. Patients who do not receive sedation, which is most often the case, are usually able to drive themselves after the procedure. Patients may apply ice the area of the injection and should generally take it easy for a day or two following the procedure. Patients should not have a problem returning to work.
Need help for constant back pain? Call Nuvo Spine today!
Facet block injections are an effective diagnostic and pain treatment tool our team uses as part of the comprehensive care that our Los Angeles pain management doctor and medical team provide patients. If you would like to learn more about facet block injections, or if you would like to learn more about your available pain treatment options, please contact Nuvo Spine today.