Facet Block Injections for Back Pain

By on May 28, 2013

Back pain is a very common woe that most people will experience at some point in their life whether it be caused by trauma or the degeneration of facet joints. Pain that stems from a facet joint is localized and occurs directly within the joint itself. The relatively new treatment of facet block injections can improve the prognosis for many people and make it easier for them to continue other treatments.

Back Pain - Shutterstock

What is a facet joint?

Facet joints are located in sets of two on both sides of the vertebrae in the spinal column. One of the joints face up and the other faces down allowing for flexibility bending and twisting throughout the spine. Cartilages in the joints allow for smooth movements, but as is the case with all joints, over time they can get pretty worn out from use. The breakdown of facet joints can lead to joint arthritis. It can also lead to facet joint syndrome which is essentially when the facet joints become inflamed, irritated and cause pain.

How can facet block injections help?

Injections contain steroids and are administered directly within the joint structure and block the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain while also reducing the inflammation in the joint. Many who undergo this form of treatment feel an immediate relief in symptoms and have full relief in a maximum of 10 days. This treatment is designed to work fast and directly on the affected area for the most effective relief. After receiving the facet block injection(s) the patient can more easily undertake other modes of treatment to correct or rectify the circumstances that lead up to the joint irritation.

Are facet block injections only effective for back pain?

Facet block injections are useful for any pain stemming from a facet joint. This means that even neck pain can be dealt with using this method so long as the pain is emanating from a facet joint.

When are facet block injections a good consideration as a treatment option?

Injections to facet blocks may be used in cases where:

  • There are herniated discs
  • There are vertebral fractures
  • There is sciatica or spinal stenosis
  • Patient has degenerative disc disease
  • Arthritis is present
  • There has been trauma to the joints

Due to the fact that the injection blocks the pain signal, facet block injections are a good treatment consideration in most cases of chronic back pain caused by one of the indicators listed above.

With the relief of pain the patient will be able to more comfortably endure other treatment methods, such as exercise and physiotherapy that previously may have caused too much discomfort for them to participate in. In most cases there are other treatment methods to pursue as the relief caused by facet joint block injections is generally a temporary fix. A specialist or the physician leading your patient care experience will best be able to formulate a course of action that involves joint block injections for immediate pain relief.

About KateSimmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and occasional blogger. If her article got you interested, feel free to follow or reach out to her via G+ or Twitter.