What Conditions Do Facet Joint Injections Treat?
Like all of our joints, the facet joints are covered in cartilage at the ends to allow smooth movement. This cartilage can deteriorate as we age, a condition called facet syndrome or facet arthritis. Some injuries to the facet joints may also damage their cartilage. In either case, facet joints become inflamed and irritated without the protection the cartilage provides, resulting in pain that occurs in:
- The cervical region, causing discomfort in the base of the scull, neck, and shoulders
- The thoracic region, causing discomfort in the mid-back
- The lumbar region, causing discomfort in the lower back and upper buttocks
How Do Facet Joint Injections Work?
Facet joint injections are a fluoroscopically guided procedure. As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician and physiatrist, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn has received extensive training in this pain management technique, allowing her to precisely pinpoint affected joints with accurate and effective placement of the medication using real time images.
Your medication injected will include anesthetic to reduce pain, plus corticosteroids and/or anti-inflammatory medication. The medicines are injected directly into joints to reduce inflammation. In some cases, these injections are used to diagnose facet joint syndrome or injuries as well.
What Should I Expect During a Facet Joint Injection?
Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn will utilize specialized physical examination techniques to assess the joints and to exclude other causes of the pain. Medical imaging and other diagnostic techniques are used to determine whether facet joint injections are right for you. They may be offered as part of a fully personalized multimodal treatment plan that combines approaches to ensure the best outcome possible.
Facet joint injections are an outpatient procedure that can be performed in about 30 minutes, and generally patients have the option to drive themselves home. During the injection, you’ll lie on your stomach, and a topical anesthetic will be applied to ensure your comfort. The anesthetic in the injection will begin to work quickly and wear off within approximately six hours. Your pain may return briefly, but the injection should take effect in as little as 24 to 72 hours or within a week. It’s recommended that you avoid strenuous activity directly after the injection.
Facet joint injections can provide relief from back pain and pain that radiates to other parts of the body for several weeks, months, or years. If this treatment proves effective, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn will determine if future injections are warranted or if more permanent solutions in the form of radiofrequency ablation procedure should be considered.
Learn More about Facet Joint Injections
When you visit Prospect Spine and Pain (PSP) in Newark, NJ, Dr. Maria Cabodevilla-Conn will identify the root causes of your pain to determine your condition and the most effective treatment plan. If you’re experiencing cervical, thoracic, or lumbar back pain that may be due to facet joint syndrome or injuries, contact us today. We’ll help schedule a consultation and provide the expert care required to alleviate discomfort and improve function.