The facet block is basically a test along with being a type of treatment. It is what is called a “therapeutic trial”. This means that something is tried that should relieve your symptoms if the problem is coming from the structure that is being treated. For example, in the facet joint block, medication is injected into a joint that should numb the joint. If it works, then the doctor assumes that is where the problem is. Cortisone is sometimes used with the anesthetic to decrease the inflammation in the joint and give relief for several weeks or months. The relief is usually temporary.
Like any joint in the body, facet joints can cause pain if they are irritated or inflamed. The facet block is a procedure where a local anesthetic medication is injected into the facet joint to numb the area around the facet joint. If all your pain goes away, the doctor can assume that the facet joint is a problem.
The test is actually to see how your symptoms react to the injection. It does not show anything about the nerves or the discs. It does not really involve taking any pictures except to make sure the needle is in the right place.
A facet joint block is done by inserting a long needle into the center of the facet joint(s). The needle is inserted from the back. During a facet joint block, you will probably be given medication to help you relax, then a local anesthetic in the skin around the area of the back where the needle will be inserted. The doctor watches on a fluoroscope as he inserts the needle to make sure it goes into the correct facet joint. The fluoroscope is a special X-ray TV that allows the doctor to see your spine and the needle as it moves.
A facet joint block requires a needle to be inserted into the facet joint. This test has more risks associated with it than most other tests. This is one of the reasons that doctors prefer to use the “non-invasive” tests, such as the MRI and CAT scans, first. The risks associated with a facet joint block include infection of the joint and an allergic reaction to the medication that is injected.
If you have neck or back pain and would like to learn more about facet joint injections, you are encouraged to explore your treatment options with our best physician, Dr. Zaki Anwar. Don’t suffer any longer; make a call at 815-464-7212 to schedule your evaluation with Dr. Zaki. He is very experienced in interventional treatments and a world renowned Pain Medicine Physician who has been practicing ways to cure pain leading to serious problems for the past several years After determining the cause of your pain, he may use a variety of treatments to provide you with pain relief.