Herniated discs and compressed nerves may be the most well-known causes of back and neck pain, but there’s another structure in your spine that often causes problems: the facet joint. The doctors at Florida Back Institute are experts in performing facet blocks, which are used to identify the problematic facet joint and to relieve the pain. If you suffer from persistent back or neck pain, call the office in Boca Raton, Florida, or book an appointment online.
The vertebra in your spine are connected to one another by facet joints, which are located on both sides of the vertebrae. When your doctor at Florida Back Institute believes your back or neck pain is caused by one or more facet joints, they perform a facet block to precisely target the source of your pain and to provide pain relief.
During a diagnostic facet block, your doctor uses X-ray imaging to guide a very small needle to the suspected facet joint. Once the needle is in place, a local anesthetic is injected. If you experience a significant reduction in pain within minutes after the injection, and if you can tolerate specific movements without pain reappearing, then the facet block positively confirms that your pain originated from the targeted joint.
Once you have a positive diagnostic test, your doctor treats the pain by injecting a combination of anesthetic and steroid medications into the same area. The anesthetic produces rapid but short-lived pain relief, while steroids reduce inflammation to provide longer-lasting relief.
Although each patient has a different response, facet blocks often break the pain cycle and lead to long-lasting results. Breaking the pain cycle several times with a series of injections may produce pain relief that lasts months or years beyond the temporary anesthetic effect.
The facet joints are just like every other joint in your body, which means they’re susceptible to degenerative disease, injury, and inflammation. The most common causes of facet joint pain are falls, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Facet joint pain typically causes a dull ache in the area of your spine where the problematic facet joint resides. When the joint is in your lower back, the pain may spread to your buttock or leg. In most cases, it only affects one side of your body but could involve both legs. If it’s in your neck, the pain often radiates to your shoulders and the back of your head.
If you have lower back, leg, neck, shoulder, or arm pain that hasn’t improved or has worsened despite conventional treatment, chances are you’re a good candidate for a facet block.
If you suffer from back or neck pain, call Florida Back Institute or book an appointment online.