Causes & Diagnosis of Facet Injections, Southlake, TX is commonly known as facet joint injection is an injection administered into a facet joint to relieve chronic pain.
Facet joints are synovial joints that are lined with cartilage which connects the bones of the spine together. Facet joint glide and slide, allowing the spine to bend and twist.
Overtime or with age, the facet joint can degenerate, wear and tear could occur. Facet joint may become inflamed or may be injured, leading to pain. The pain could be acute or chronic.
The medial nerves carry pain signals from the injured or irritated facet joint to the brain.
The facet joint injection contains local anesthetic and steroid. It is used to numb the pain and reduce inflammation in the pain area.
The purpose of the facet joint injection is to help diagnose the cause and location of the pain and also to relieve pain.
Causes of facet joint disorder
The cartilage in the facet joint wears away with age. Degeneration occurs as an individual grows older.
Common causes of facet joint disorder include:
- Deterioration of the vertebral disc
- Wears and tears of cartilage
- Bone spurs
- Poor posture
Diagnosis of facet joint pain
Causes & Diagnosis of Facet Injections, Southlake, TX is both for diagnostic and treatment purposes.
It is a diagnostic procedure because it allows your doctor to know exactly the cause and location of the pain. Your doctor will be able to know the facet joint and nerve responsible for the pain.
If the injection is administered and you didn’t experience any pain relief, this may indicate that the facet joint is not the cause of your pain. If you experience immediate pain relief, it may indicate that the facet joint is the cause of the pain.
It is a treatment procedure because the injection relieves you of the pain.
Before the injection is given, your doctor will first need to know the pain area. Your doctor also needs to know if actually, the facet joint is the source of the pain.
Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and ask you some necessary questions. Your doctor may use his or her hand to examine the skin around the pain area. You may be asked to stand and move, twist or turn.
You may also need to undergoing imaging scans such as x-ray, MRI or CT scan so that your doctor will be able to view your internal bones to check which bone or spine has any disorder.
Preparation for facet joint injection
Before being administered the injection, your doctor will take you through some tests and examinations. Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and provide you with the necessary instructions that you should follow.
Your blood pressure and pulse rate will be examined. If you are on a blood-thinning medication, you will need to stop taking them for several days before the procedure.
How the procedure is done
At the start of the procedure, you will be given an IV line to help you relax and feel more comfortable.
You will be asked to lie down facing down on a procedure table and the doctor will clean the skin area where the treatment will be done.
You will be given a local anesthetic to help numb the injection site so that you don’t feel pain and to make you comfortable.
The doctor will then insert a hollow needle and direct it into your facet joint with the aid of a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope is connected to a monitor where the doctor views the direction of the needle.
With the help of the fluoroscope, the doctor is able to direct the needle to the exact location. A little amount of contrast dye is then injected into the area so that the doctor will be able to view the area clearer.
When the doctor has confirmed that the needle is in the affected joint, the doctor will then inject the medication into the joint.
The medication contains a mixture of anesthetic known as lidocaine and anti-inflammatory medication known as corticosteroid.
This procedure takes about 15 – 30 minutes to be completed.
After the procedure
After the procedure, you will be taken to an observation room where you will be observed and monitored for about 30 minutes.
You will be asked to perform some physical activities that increase pains such as bending and twisting. You may experience mild soreness at the injection site. This can be relieved by applying ice to the injection site for about 20 minutes at a time at intervals.
All these are done in order to ascertain the level of pain that you are still feeling. You may feel numb or slightly weak for a few hours after the injection is administered to the joint.
You may be given a pain diary to record your daily improvements. You need to bring the pain diary with you to the clinic when coming for your follow-up checks.
You are allowed to go home after a few hours but you shouldn’t drive back home by yourself. You are not allowed to drive for 12 hours after having the injection
You need to come to the clinic with someone that will drive you back home due to the effect of the anesthetic used.
If you feel relief after the treatment, it is recommended that you undergo the treatment again for two to three times a year.
If you don’t feel any relief after the treatment, then it may be an indication that the source of pain is not the facet joint.
How many times can you have a facet joint injection?
If you feel immediate relief after having the facet joint injection, it likely means that the facet joint is the cause of your pain. In this case, the injection is effective in alleviating the pain. You may feel pain relief for several months. Your doctor may recommend having the injection up to three times every year. However, if you don’t feel any pain relief after having the injection, it should not be repeated.