Facet Nerve Blocks In Managing Chronic Facet Joint Pain

The facet joints are a sequence of joints that span the entire length of the spine. They permit the spine to flex, bend, and twist. These joints can emerge as arthritic just like the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and shoulders. A facet blocks is the injection of a local anesthetic to block the nerves that transmits ache from these facet joints.

Purpose of facet nerve blocks

Facet blocks typically performed to:

  • lessen inflammation
  • offer long-term pain relief
  • help patients tolerate physical therapy or different rehabilitative exercises
  • help physicians decide the cause of lower back or neck pain

Procedure of facet blocks

You may be placed on the procedure table. The injection site for facet blocks is sterilized with either iodine or chlorhexadine. The site to be injected is numbed with a local anesthetic, and a needle is directed to the goal area. X-ray guidance is used to ensure right placement and positioning of the needle. When the needle is properly positioned close to the facet nerve, local anesthetic is injected to numb that nerve. This may be repeated at more than one levels relying on what number of joints are involved.

Will the procedure be painful?

The facet blocks injection may be painful and many doctors consequently provide the choice of receiving IV sedation. IV sedation, mixed with local anesthetic, can make the injection nearly pain free. It allows you to stay very still for the duration of the procedure, which also can make the injection easier, faster, and extra successful. In addition, you cannot have something to eat or drink within 6 hours of your appointment. If you take medicines for diabetes, these medicines may want to be adjusted the morning of the procedure. Your primary care physician permits you to with this adjustment.

What to expect from facet nerve blocks?

You may feel sore at the vicinity of the needle insertion of facet blocks for some days. You may apply ice or a cold pack to the injection site and your doctor may prescribe pain comfort medication in case you have sizable pain. You should avoid strenuous activities and driving for 24 hours.

You may also experience your pain level increase as the numbing medicinal drug wears off and earlier than the cortisone starts to take effect. Rarely, you may also experience complications from the anti-inflammatory medication, including:

  • a feeling of warmth for numerous days
  • fluid retention, weight gain or expanded appetite
  • increased blood pressure
  • mood swings, irritability, anxiety, insomnia

If the facet blocks seem effective in alleviating your pain, the procedure may be repeated up to 3 times a year.

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