How Facet Block Works For Back Pain?

A facet block is an injection treatment that provides relief from back pain temporarily.  Facet joints are paired joints present on the side of the midline at each level of the spine. These joints guide and restrict our spine’s movement.  Facet joints might become inflamed and can cause pain, soreness and stiffness. Facet block is also termed as selective nerve block.

Purpose of facet block:

A facet block injection has two goals;

  • To find out whether facet joints are the source of a patient’s back pain
  • To provide pain relief

How to perform facet block?

Facet block procedure cannot be performed if you have an infection like flu, cold, fever, very high blood pressure or if you are on blood thinners. The procedure of facet block includes steps which are;

  • Facet block will be done in a fluoroscopy room.
  • Before giving the injection, the area of the skin where the medication will be injected is cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic with a very small needle.
  • With the use of fluoroscopy, longer needles are then advanced into the facet joints along the spine.
  • Once the needle is in a proper location (in the facet joint), the mixture of local anesthetic and steroid medicine will be injected and then the needle will be removed.
  • After that, your skin will be cleaned again.
  • Band-Aids will be applied at the site of injection.
  • The patient has to rest in the recovery area for twenty to thirty minutes, and then is asked to perform some movements or activities that would usually provoke their pain. The reason of doing this is to check whether they get relief from their pain or not.
  • Patients may or may not obtain pain relief in the first few hours of the injection, depending upon whether or not the joints targeted are the main source of their pain. If the joint being targeted is not the reason of their pain, a patient will not obtain immediate relief from injection.

Facet block injection works by reducing inflammation in the tissue of facet joint. You may need multiple injections if you won’t get relief from one injection.

Is facet joint injection painful?

Normally patients may feel numb or have a slightly weak or odd feeling in their neck or back for a few hours after the facet block injection.

Side effects of facet block injection:

Complications that may occur after facet block injection may include;

  • Allergic reactions
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Worsening of pain symptoms
  • Discomfort at the point of the injection
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage or paralysis
  • Itching
  • Weight gain

Zaki Anwar MD is an Anesthesiologist and Interventional Pain Management Specialist. Zaki Anwar has vast expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain, sciatica pain and various pain conditions.

For further queries call on 815.412.6166