Pain Management Doctors in Las Vegas, NV.

patient who needs a facet joint injection

Living with back pain is debilitating, frustrating, and exhausting. If you have ongoing pain that hasn’t responded to other treatments, facet joint injections may be an option.

Your facet joints are located between your vertebrae at the back of your spine. Over time, wear and tear or a traumatic injury can result in chronic pain in these joints.

A facet joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure with a low risk of complications. Many people experience significant pain relief with this procedure.

If you’re looking for pain relief, you should know all your options.

Here is everything you need to know about facet joint injections.

What Do Facet Injections Treat? 

Facet joint injections are used to treat neck and back pain. Whether you have chronic neck pain or upper or lower back pain, facet injections may be an option for pain relief.

The injections contain lidocaine, other pain relievers, and steroids to reduce inflammation. If you have chronic neck or back pain that hasn’t responded to conventional treatment, your doctor may recommend facet joint injections.

Some causes of facet joint pain include:

  • Joint instability
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Impingement of joint tissue (excess pressure)
  • Neck inflammation or joint inflammation
  • Traumatic injury

Doctors also use facet injections to help identify the cause of pain. If you respond well to injections, your doctor can better determine the origin of your pain.

Is a Facet Joint Injection a Nerve Block?

These procedures are related but somewhat different. When a doctor injects the medication directly into your joint, it’s a facet joint injection.

When medication is injected near your medial nerves, it’s a facet joint nerve block. An epidural is considered a nerve block that’s injected into the space surrounding the spinal cord.

An epidural is commonly used for labor and certain types of surgeries.

How Does the Injection Work?

A facet joint injection numbs the facet joints and reduces inflammation. This can provide quick pain relief and improve mobility.

Depending on your pain issues, your doctor will decide whether to include steroids in your procedure. Doctors can determine whether your pain is related to arthritis based on your response to the injections.

Facet Joint Procedure 

Facet joint injection is minimally invasive. It’s an outpatient procedure that takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Typically, patients are awake during the procedure but may be given IV sedation. During the procedure, you will lie face down. The medical team will monitor your vitals throughout the procedure.

A nurse or medical assistant will sterilize the injection site and cover it with a drape to prevent contamination. The surgeon will inject a local anesthetic to numb the procedure area.

Your doctor may use a fluoroscopy or CT scan to guide them as they perform the procedure. They may use a contrast dye to ensure the needle is in the correct spot.

Your doctor will inject pain relievers and steroids into your joint. Once this is done, they will remove the needle and apply pressure to minimize bleeding.

Is a Facet Injection Painful?

You may feel a pinch as the doctor injects the local anesthesia. However, this should be mild.

The facet joint injection does not hurt because the area will be numbed. You may feel slight pressure at the injection site.

Side Effects

A facet joint injection is generally a safe procedure. Most people have minimal side effects. However, all medical procedures carry some risk.

Some possible side effects include:

  • Swelling
  • A temporary increase in pain
  • Pain at the injection site

The anti-inflammatory drugs in facet injections may cause side effects in some people. These side effects include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Warmth
  • Increased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Severe complications following facet injections are very rare.

Can a Facet Injection Make My Pain Worse?

A facet joint injection may increase your pain initially. This is usually temporary and is due to swelling around the injection site.

The pain will diminish as the pain medication takes effect. If you feel soreness at the injection site, you can apply an ice pack as needed.

Preparing for Your Appointment

You can help prepare for your appointment by following your doctor’s instructions. You will need to avoid anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen, 24 hours before your procedure.

These medications can interfere with steroid medication in facet injections. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages 24 hours before your procedure. Alcohol thins the blood and could increase the chance of bleeding.

If you receive anesthesia of any kind, be sure to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Anesthesia can have lingering effects and could impair your ability to drive.

What Can I Expect After the Procedure?

Typically, facet joint injections are done on an outpatient basis. That means you get to go home on the same day you have your injection.

The procedure only takes a few minutes. Most people experience pain relief within 20 to 30 minutes after the injection.

Patients who experience relief may be good candidates for Radiofrequency Ablation, which can offer long-lasting pain relief.

If you experience significant pain relief after your facet joint injection, your doctor can repeat the procedure as needed.

Facet Joint Injection Pain Relief

If you experience daily neck or back pain and haven’t found a solution, talk to your doctor about getting a facet joint injection. For many people, this procedure provides the pain relief they desperately need.

At Innovative Pain Care Center, we understand how agonizing it can be to live with severe pain. Our goal is to provide professional and compassionate pain relief to people in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.

We would love to help you decrease your pain and improve your quality of life.

Contact Innovative Pain Care Center today to schedule an appointment.

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