If you struggle with chronic neck or back pain that originates in the spinal joints, it’s time to consider a facet injection. Martin Quiroga, DO, MBA, and Eduardo Otero Loperena, MD, at Michigan Advanced Pain & Spine have extensive experience performing minimally invasive spinal procedures like facet injections. The injection eases your pain and determines if you’re a good candidate for longer-lasting treatments. To learn how a facet injection can help you, call the office in Warren, Michigan, or schedule an appointment online today.
Facet joints connect the vertebrae in your spine. These joints allow your spine to twist and bend while also stabilizing the vertebrae.
A facet injection contains a local anesthetic and steroids. After your provider injects the medications into the joint, the drug provides quick but short-term pain relief. Steroids deliver longer-lasting pain relief by reducing joint inflammation.
Like other joints in your body, facet joints have cartilage and soft tissues called the synovium. Cartilage lets the bones glide over one another, while the synovium produces fluids that lubricate the joint.
You may need a facet injection when these tissues become damaged and inflamed. Arthritis most often causes facet joint damage. However, degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, an injury, or a slipped vertebra can also cause facet joint problems.
No matter what causes the problem, facet joint damage leads to pain and stiffness. Many people need to turn their bodies to look left or right because they can’t twist their neck or back.
The pain can make any movement difficult, including walking. A damaged facet joint in your neck may also cause headaches.
Swelling in the joint can press against nerves. Pinched nerves then cause pain and tingling that travels down your arms or legs.
Your provider first numbs the skin at the injection site. Then they use real-time imaging to see your spine and guide the injection. After inserting the needle into the joint, they inject a dye to visually confirm the needle’s location; then, inject the medications.
Your pain should disappear quickly, but since the anesthetic doesn’t last long, the pain returns until the steroids have time to reduce joint inflammation. Your pain relief lasts longer once the inflammation goes down.
After a successful facet injection, you may choose to have another treatment that eases your pain longer than steroids. For example, radiofrequency ablation blocks nerve signals traveling from the facet joint to your brain, providing pain relief that lasts from nine months for up to two years.
Call Michigan Advanced Pain & Spine or schedule an appointment online today to learn more about facet injections.