What is a Facet Joint Injection?
A facet joint injection is a straightforward procedure that is often performed in a medical office or an ambulatory surgical center. It involves injecting a mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication into one of the facet joints in your spine. This is done with the help of a live X-ray, also known as fluoroscopy, which guides the doctor to precisely place the needle, avoiding any nerve injury or other complications.
What are the symptoms that might warrant a Facet Joint Injection?
Facet joint injections are primarily used to manage pain originating from the facet joints in your neck or back. You might be a candidate for a facet joint injection if you’ve been experiencing neck pain, upper back pain, or lower back pain that hasn’t responded to conservative treatments like physical therapy or activity modifications for at least three months.
What causes the pain addressed by Facet Joint Injections?
Pain in the facet joints can be caused by several conditions, including osteoarthritis, joint instability, traumatic injury, impingement of joint tissue, or inflammation of the joint lining. If you’re experiencing persistent pain in these areas, it might be due to one or more of these causes.
How would Dr. Ed Rubin approach this treatment?
As a Pain Management MD, Dr. Ed Rubin follows a thorough, patient-focused approach to facet joint injections. Dr. Rubin and his team will ensure you are comfortable throughout the process, providing relaxation medicine if necessary. They will use X-ray guidance to precisely guide the needle into the affected joint, minimizing any discomfort.
The injection procedure itself only takes a few minutes, but you should expect the overall process to take between 15 to 30 minutes. After the procedure, Dr. Rubin will encourage you to rest and observe any changes in your pain levels. You may feel numb or slightly weak in your neck or back for a few hours post-injection, which is perfectly normal.
What to expect after the injection?
After receiving a facet joint injection, you might notice a slight increase in pain for a few days as the numbing medicine wears off and before the cortisone starts to take effect. During this period, applying ice to the injection site can provide some relief.
In the week following the procedure, you can return to your regular activities and may even be referred for physical therapy or manual therapy to enhance your recovery. It’s important to increase your activities gradually over one to two weeks to avoid a recurrence of pain.
Dr. Rubin and his team will be there to guide you every step of the way, answering any questions or concerns you may have during your recovery.
Side effects and risks
Facet joint injections are generally safe, but like all medical procedures, they do come with some risks. The most common side effects include swelling, pain around the injection site, or temporarily increased back pain. Very rarely, the anti-inflammatory drugs used in the procedure can cause side effects like warmth, fluid retention, weight gain, and increased appetite.
Let’s get you on the path to pain relief!
Don’t let persistent neck or back pain keep you from enjoying life. With Dr. Ed Rubin’s expertise in pain management, you’re in good hands. Contact Dr. Ed Rubin today to schedule an appointment and discuss if a facet joint injection could be the solution to your pain.