Facet joint injections are both diagnostic and therapeutic. Successful facet joint injections have produced many of our most grateful patients whose ongoing pain has been greatly relieved.
Facet joint injections are typically used to diagnose and treat two conditions:
- Lumbar facet joint syndrome is characterized by back pain radiating through the hip, usually no lower than the thigh.
- Cervical facet arthropathy syndrome is a source of headache, cervical, and shoulder pain. The upper cervical facets have been shown to produce a common syndrome of neck pain and headache which is worsened by the pressure of those facet joints and sometimes by rotating the head.
What To Expect
Using fluoroscopic control, the appropriate facet joints are located and a thin needle is inserted. A long-acting anesthetic and long-acting steroid are then injected into the facet joint. The local anesthetic allows us to determine whether the pain is immediately relieved, and the steroid administration is intended to produce long-term pain relief.
If you experience pain relief, this is confirmation that the facets are the source of your pain. When injecting steroids, we use a very careful injection technique that has not been associated with any known complications.
No special preparation is required before a facet joint injection procedure. The radiologist and technologist will be happy to answer any questions you may have before beginning the procedure.