What are facet injections?
Facet injections of medications into the facet joints of your body. The facet joints are those located in between the vertebrae in your spine, running from your neck all the way to your tailbone. These joints allow each of your vertebrae to move against the ones above and below it.
What is the purpose for the facet injections?
The facet injections are used to reduce any swelling or inflammation in the tissue that surrounds the facet joint areas. This can help to reduce pain and other symptoms which are caused by irritation or inflammation of the facet joints and any of the surrounding structures. Facet joint pain is often thought of as spine pain, but for some patients at the pain clinics in Nashville TN it is referred pain, which means that the pain goes beyond just the spine and reaches into the surrounding tissues including, at times, the arms or the legs.
Who qualifies for facet injections?
Patients at the Nashville pain clinic who have undergone an x-ray and show that they have arthritic or inflamed facet joints, or anyone who suffers from chronic neck or back pain associated with movement are ideal candidates for the facet injections. Some patients who have seemingly normal looking facet joints on their x-rays may still have inflammation in this area and might respond positively to facet injections. If bending or twisting aggravates the back or neck, it might also aggravate the facet joints. There are certain postures which can improve these symptoms, and certain postures which might exacerbate the pain. Certain patients at the pain clinics in Nashville TN who have suffered from traumatic injuries to their back or neck may experience facet join pain and benefit from facet injections after they have explored other treatment options including chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications.
How long does the process take?
The process for a facet injections takes between ten and twenty minutes.
What is injected?
In the facet injections, there is a mixture of steroid medications and local anesthetics. The anesthetic is used to reduce pain while the steroid is used to help the anesthetic last a longer amount of time.
Does the process hurt?
The procedure involves a long needle placed through the skin and the deeper tissue and this is what brings with it pain. But in most cases the skin is numbed and the deeper tissues are numbed using a local anesthetic. The needle for this is much smaller and thinner, and it helps to alleviate the pain. Some patients prefer using IV sedation to make the process more bearable.
How is it performed?
The procedure requires the patient to lay on their stomach, and an x-ray is then used to locate the problem area. Once this is done, the skin will be cleaned using an antiseptic solution and the injections for each of the joints are done one at a time at the Nashville pain clinic. Usually only one side of the neck is done during any visit, and no more than three joints are done at a time. This means that those who require more than that will need to make multiple appointments.