22 Sep Facet Injections for Neck and Back Pain in Seattle
FAQs on Facet Joint Injections in Seattle and Tacoma
Facet joint injections at pain management clinics in Seattle offer a welcome respite to rising number of people experiencing pain due to arthritic changes in the vertebra joints. Facet joint syndrome affects almost all incidents of back pain in those above 60 years and accounts for 35 percent of those suffering from chronic back pain and four in every 100 with spinal arthritis. These patients see facet joint injections the best possible way to achieve semi-permanent pain relief.
What are facet joint injections?
Facet joint injection delivers anti-inflammatory medication to facet joints in the back of the bony spinal structure that connect two vertebras. Trauma, injury, osteoarthritis and degenerative disorders lead to inflammation in the cartilage of these joints. This causes chronic pain that gradually spread to nearby areas limiting bending and movements.
Facet injections inhibit inflammation and relieve joint pain. This allows patients to have pain-free and improved level of activity.
What are conditions best treated using facet joint injections?
Patients suffering from pain in the neck, back, shoulder and thigh with the following underline causes can seek pain relief using facet joint injections.
- Chronic neck or back pain originating in the spinal area
- Cervical facet syndrome
- Lumbar facet syndrome
- Postoperative spinal pain
- Sacroiliac joint pain
- Pain due to spinal canal contraction (stenosis)
- Radiating pain in thighs and buttocks
- Myofascial pain
- Discogenic pain
- Degenerative spinal pain
- Joint inflammations due to arthritis
- Whiplash injury-linked facet join pain
- Pain coming from herniated disc
What is used in a facet joint injection?
Facet joint injections typically use a mixture of steroid and a local anesthetic. The numbing medication ensures instant pain relief while the steroid treats the irritation and inflammation in the nerve root.
How do facet joint injections relieve pain?
Facet join pain is due to inflammation of cartilage in facet joints primarily caused by repeated movement, arthritis, trauma or wear and tear. The withering of cushioning effects results in bony structures emitting pain under stress as patients engage in activities that put pressure on the vertebra.
Facet injections numb the area preventing the pain signals from reaching the brain. The steroid mixed with the numbing medication soothes the inflammation and ends swelling. This, in turn, inhibits pain for a longer duration.
How well facet injections work?
- Researchers have found 70 percent pain relief in patients with lumbar facet joint pain following these injections. (Pain Physician, 2007)
- Facet joint injections have accurate diagnostic and treatment value for back and neck facet joint syndrome. (Spine, 2007)
- These injections assure over 68 percent pain relief over a period of six months. (Acta Orthopaedica Belgica journal)
- Facet joint injections are a superior and useful alternative to pain medication, surgery and conservative therapies. (Biomedical Imaging and Intervention Journal, 2011)
- This treatment method is beneficial where there is the need for multiple surgeries of facet joints.
- Injections prevent severe end-stage arthritis and also helps avoid post-surgical risks.
Who is a suitable candidate for facet joint injections?
- is diagnosed with chronic pain associated with facet joint syndrome
- fails to get relief from medication or conservative pain management
- has no confirmation of high diabetes
- is not allergic to steroids
How are facet joint injections administered?
Doctors apply intravenous sedation if they think it is necessary in particular case. Numbing medication helps anesthetize skin over the pain area and underlying deep tissues. A needle is injected close to the painful facet joint under fluoroscopic guidance. This helps prevent damage to nerves and blood vessels. Once the exact location is confirmed, the mixture of steroid and local anesthetic is injected.
How long does an injection take?
The entire procedure is over in 30 minutes at a Seattle pain clinic.
How do I feel after having facet joint injections?
Patients are discharged after 30-minute observation. There may be soreness at the injection site. But you do not feel facet joint pain as you start your daily activities next day. There may be an increase in pain after 2/3 days, but it improves as steroid heals the inflammation. Those with diabetes may have higher blood glucose level for a few days.
Is there any precaution should I have after injections?
Take rest for the rest of the day and avoid stress on the back. Apply ice pack on the injection site. You can return to work and full daily activities next day. No dietary restrictions.
When can I expect pain relief? How long the impact lasts?
Pain relief is immediate. However, pain may return in a mild form in 2/3 days when numbing medication wears out. The pain again evaporates as the steroid in the medication soothes the cartilage and ends inflammation. The impact typically lasts between a month and year depending on patient conditions.
How many facet injections do I need?
Patients usually have a series of injections according to their pain. Your Seattle pain management doctor decides on the number of injections and time gap between each injection based on your first pain relief experience.
What are risks and side effects of facet injections?
Patients experience injection site soreness for up to 24 hours after the procedure. Rare side effects may include bleeding, nerve damage, blood vessel rupture or failed epidural block. These risks are present when facet injections are administered by inexperienced doctors or there is needle misplacement.
Manchikanti L et al. Evaluation of lumbar facet joint nerve blocks in the management of chronic low back pain: preliminary report of a randomized, double-blind controlled trial: clinical trial; Pain Physician. 2007 May;10(3):425-40
Friedly J, Chan L, Deyo R; Increases in lumbosacral injections in the Medicare population: 1994 to 2001 Spine. 2007 Jul 15;32(16):1754-60
WCG Peh. Image-guided facet joint injection. Biomed Imaging Interv J. 2011 Jan-Mar; 7(1): e4.
Saket Tibrewal, Osman H Khan, Sheo B Tibrewal. Facet joint injection in lower back pain—is its continued use justified? J R Soc Med. 2007 Jul; 100(7): 301–302.
Sehgal N, Shah RV, et al. Diagnostic utility of facet (zygapophysial) joint injections in chronic spinal pain: a systematic review of evidence. Pain Physician. 2005 Apr;8(2):211-24.
Kim KH, Choi SH, et al. Cervical facet joint injections in the neck and shoulder pain. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Aug;20(4):659-62.