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Health Tip: How Facet Joint Injections Effectively Manage Back Pain

The purpose of this article is to continue our review of facet joints and provide health tips related to back pain. As recently shared in this article31% of chronic pain conditions are related to the back.

As a refresher, facet joints are two small joints on each vertebra which line the spine from the neck to the buttocks. Facet joints are key to a normal, healthy state of mobility. When pain arises in the back or neck, facet joints are a common cause and, in most cases, the pain can be managed without surgery.

Two Common Conditions Treated by Facet Joint Injections

There are two common conditions for which a patient would receive a facet joint injection. The first, facet syndrome, is commonly seen in adults over 50 years of age. This condition is caused by normal wear and tear but can eventuate in the second condition which is called spinal arthritis.

Facet syndrome can also occur as a result of an injury but if it goes untreated, stiffness and bone spurs can develop. If it becomes permanent in nature, that is when spinal arthritis would be diagnosed.

How Can Facet Joint Pain Be Managed?

The original purpose of a facet joint injection is for diagnosing whether or not your pain is being caused by facet syndrome. Using a fluoroscopic (x-ray) guided injection, a local anesthetic and corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication is administered directly at the location of your pain. If pain has subsided, not only is it confirmed that facet syndrome is the cause of your pain but also you’ll be feeling much better.

If no relief is found, your pain management physician will more likely move on to the next step – which, in most cases, is radiofrequency neurotomy. In other words, your pain issue is probably more nerve related and a procedure to resolve the pain in your nerve endings may be recommended.

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