Facet Joint Injection

What is a facet joint injection?

Facet joint injections include injections into the spine in the neck, thoracic, or low back area that are separate from the disc. There are small joints that support the weight of the body and are common sources of pain in at least 50% of the cases. With x-ray guidance, small needles can be placed and deposit cortisone into the joints and if significant improvement is obtained, but not long-lasting, another procedure called radiofrequency can be used to provide longer-lasting relief for a period of six months to a year.

What are the causes of facet pain?

Facet joint pain can be caused by the overall degeneration of the discs that serve as cushions between the vertebrae. Due to this, the facet joints have to bear more bodyweight; also, repetitive use, premature arthritis, or a previous injury can accelerate pain of this type, which is commonly the cause of neck, midthoracic, and low back pain.

Interventional treatments for acetogenic pain include x-ray guided injections to the joint with cortisone and local anesthetic to diagnose and treat the pain and if the improvement is obtained, that is very significant, but not long-lasting, a secondary procedure called medial nerve branch radiofrequency is applied to numb the nerve that goes to the joint. That will provide longer-lasting relief, similar to what a root canal procedure will do to a toothache.

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