Is back or neck pain hampering you from living life and feeling your best? If conservative treatments haven’t helped you, facet joint injections may be able to bring you the relief you deserve.
The OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group is here to help you navigate all your pain management options.
WHAT ARE FACET JOINT INJECTIONS?
Facets are small joints that connect the vertebrae in your back. They can be found all along your spine in your lumbar, thoracic, and cervical vertebrae. There are two facet joints to each vertebra, which sit on either side of them.
Facet joints enable your spine to move, bend, and twist. Since they play such a critical role in your daily movements, when they become inflamed or damaged, they can cause debilitating pain.
The pain can be felt in your back, neck, or legs. You can experience achy pain in one localized area, or the pain could radiate to other areas of your back. Facet joint pain can make you feel stiff and tender and affect your daily activities and overall quality of life.
Facet joint injections help alleviate your pain by injecting a steroid medication directly into the painful facet joint. This treatment decreases the inflammation and pain coming from that area.
WHAT DO FACET INJECTIONS TREAT?
Joint degeneration is a common cause of facet joint pain. Joint degeneration is mainly due to spinal injury, overuse, or inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Pain in your neck, upper back, lower back, or even your hips and thighs could all be caused by damaged facet joints. So, facet injections may be an effective treatment for you if you’re coping with pain in these areas.
However, not all back pain originates from the facet joints. But degenerated facet joints are a common cause of back pain. Our expert pain management team at OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group can help determine where your pain is coming from and how to best treat it.
BENEFITS OF FACET JOINT INJECTIONS
Facet joint injections are a non-surgical, minimally invasive option to treat back pain that carries few risks.
Facet joint injections provide effective pain relief for many people. The entire procedure typically takes less than an hour, and the injection itself is over in a matter of minutes.
After your injection, you can return home the same day. You should avoid strenuous activities the day of your injection, but you can resume regular activity by the next day.
Facet joint injections do not require any anesthesia (other than a local numbing agent). Most importantly, they reduce your back pain symptoms so you can enjoy greater well-being and mobility. Facet injections can also be used alongside other alternative treatments like chiropractic care and physical therapy.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A FACET INJECTION TREATMENT
You’ll want to avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen or naproxen) or anticoagulants (like warfarin or heparin) for several days before and after the procedure. We will give you complete instructions before your appointment.
When you come in for your facet joint injection, you’ll lie down and relax on the treatment table. We’ll prep and sterilize your injection site and apply a local numbing agent to help make the injection more comfortable.
The doctor will use x-ray guidance to determine precisely where to place the injection. Then, he or she will insert a small needle into the area and inject the steroid medicine.
We’ll monitor you for a brief time, and you can go home the same day. You’ll want to arrange to have someone drive you home afterward and take it easy until the following day.
If you have any discomfort at the injection site after the procedure, use ice packs to help relieve the pain. We’ll want you to keep a daily pain diary and follow up with us to make sure you’re getting adequate pain relief.
You can receive up to three facet injections in a six-month period if needed. We’ll monitor the therapy’s effectiveness closely and develop an individualized plan for your pain management.
HOW LONG DO FACET JOINT INJECTIONS LAST?
You may experience some immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic used in your injection. However, you likely won’t feel the steroid’s effects for 2-14 days following the injection. After that period, the pain-relieving effects can last for several months.
We’ll follow up with you and may recommend other therapies in addition to facet joint injections to treat your pain. This could include one of the other alternative treatments we offer, such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, or chiropractic care.
If you’re coping with back or neck pain, we can help. At OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group, our priority is helping you find both immediate and long-term pain relief. Schedule a consultation with one of our expert pain management providers to get started today.