Florida Pain Medicine is a rotation site and teaching facility for USF Health ACGME Pain Medicine Fellowship and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency.
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2 Important Ways Facet Joint Injections Relieve Chronic Pain

2 Important Ways Facet Joint Injections Relieve Chronic Pain

It’s natural to get discouraged when you spend your days with chronic back pain that doesn’t improve with conventional medical care. But don’t give up searching for solutions. Instead, connect with the team at Florida Pain Medicine.

Our team specializes in diagnosing and treating back pain caused by facet joint disorders. We offer a range of advanced interventional services, including facet joint injections that achieve optimal pain relief.

Here’s what you need to know about facet joints conditions and how injections ease your pain.

Facet joints explained

Facet joints have an important job; they connect the vertebrae in your spine. They support movement, transfer pressure between bones, and maintain spinal stability. 

Though they’re small, the facet joints are similar to joints like your knees. They’re supported by strong ligaments and have tissues lining the joint that produce lubricating and nourishing fluids. The bones also have a layer of protective cartilage that allows smooth movement. 

Any of the structures that make up the facet joint can become damaged or inflamed and cause chronic pain. When that happens, a facet joint injection may be the solution you need.

You may suffer an injury that damages the joint or have an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation. The facet joints are also affected by degenerative disc disease, potentially leading to a slipped disc. However, we most often perform facet joint injections to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.

Two ways facet injections relieve pain

Treatment for facet joint pain begins with conservative care. But when medications and physical therapy fail to help, an injection can give you the relief you need.

Injections are highly effective because the medication goes directly to the source or your pain: the facet joint. Your facet joint injection contains two medications: a local anesthetic and steroids.

As soon as the anesthetic reaches nerves in the joint, it blocks pain signals and quickly eases your pain. The results of an anesthetic don’t last long, but then the steroids take over.

Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines. They need a few days to work, but once the inflammation goes down, you get longer-lasting pain relief.

Each person has a different response to steroids, but your results may last up to several months. As the results wear off, you can get up to three additional injections over the course of a year to maintain the same level of pain relief.

Your joint injection procedure

No one ever looks forward to an injection targeting their spine, but our team takes steps to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.

We begin by numbing the injection site, so you won’t experience discomfort. When performing the injection, we use a special technique called fluoroscopy.

Fluoroscopy is a real-time X-ray that reveals the details of your spine, including the facet joint, and gives us a clear view of the needle as we inject your pain-relieving medication. 

After we precisely place the needle, we release a small amount of contrast dye, confirming the needle is in the joint, and the medication reaches the tissues. Finally, we slowly inject the medications.

You rest in the recovery area for a short time before going home. Most people are able to return to their usual activities the next day. It’s common for your pain to temporarily return in the time after the anesthetic wears off and before the steroids take effect.

If you struggle with chronic back pain, don’t wait to connect with Florida Pain Medicine. In addition to facet joint injections, the team offers advanced interventional procedures that can give you the pain relief you need. Call the office, or book an appointment online today.

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