With an emphasis on conservative, minimally invasive strategies for pain management, Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation offers Facet Joint Injections to relieve pain and inflammation in the joints of the spine. This procedure is also used to make more accurate diagnoses of the causes and exact location of back pain.
Facet Joint Injections
The facet joints are found in pairs between the individual bones of the spine (the vertebrae). There are 25 pairs of facet joints in total. They provide stability; help support weight; and control and guide movement of the spine. A number of conditions can affect the facet joints, leading to pain and inflammation. Degenerative conditions such as arthritis are a main culprit in joint-related back and neck pain.
Mechanical stress can lead to pain and inflammation. Because the spine is a load-bearing structure, any abnormal alignment of the spine (such as misalignments due to poor posture) can lead to atypical loading in the back and neck. Osteoarthritis is often caused by mechanical stress when, over time, the bones of the spine are forced to remodel to accommodate this unnatural burden of weight. Mechanical stress can also be caused by improper lifting or other trauma to the back.
For the relief of pain in the joints of the spine, injections of a long-lasting steroid are administered in the cervical spine (the neck); thoracic spine (the middle segment of the vertebral column); or in the lumbar spine (lower back). Facet Joint Injections are not used with the intention of correcting any condition or illness that is causing pain; rather, this treatment allows patients the opportunity to use physical therapy practices or chiropractic care to rehabilitate.
The purpose of Facet Joint Injections is to help the body heal without surgery or prolonged drug use.
Facet Joint Injections are also sometimes used to make more exact and accurate diagnoses. In such cases, the facet joint is filled with an anesthetic numbing agent. This medication works to numb the joint, ligaments, and capsule around the joint. If pain is temporarily eliminated by this action, the precise area of pain can be pinpointed. This serves as a jumping-off position from which treatment options can be discussed; it also leads to more effective and targeted strategies of pain management.