The Benefits of a Facet Blocks Procedure
Facet joint syndrome is an arthritis-like condition of the spine that is typically caused by degeneration in the joints between the spinal bones. When the cartilage contained in the facet joint begins breaking down, it can become inflamed, resulting in a dull ache in the low back that spreads down the legs or in the neck that spreads to the shoulders and arms.
A facet block procedure can help reduce any pain from this condition, however. While the procedure does not work for everyone, it is an important therapeutic and diagnostic tool to have available. Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery’s team of specialists can help if you have any issues relating to facet joint syndrome, and we are here to make sure you are taken care of every step of the way. Here is a look at the benefits of a facet block procedure.
How is a Facet Block Procedure Performed?
A facet block procedure, also commonly referred to as a facet joint block, is a minimally invasive procedure in which medication is injected directly into the facet joints to reduce inflammation and pain. During the procedure, the doctor uses an X-ray to guide them in the proper placement of the needles that are used to inject the medication. Then, the doctor will use the X-ray to guide them as they put needles into the appropriate spot in either the joints or the medial branch.
When the needles are properly positioned, a local anesthetic will be administered through the needles. Often, a steroid will also be applied. The needles are then removed, the skin is cleansed, and bandages are applied. While most patients experience a burning sensation when numbing medicine is applied to the area before the procedure, the procedure itself is generally painless.
What Are the Benefits of Facet Block Procedure?
Because the procedure is minimally invasive, it can provide multiple benefits to the patient. While any procedure potentially carries risk, minimally invasive procedures are preferable to the many months of recovery and the increased risk of complications that are present in traditional types of spinal surgery. Some benefits of facet block procedures include:
It Is Quick and Generally Painless
Since the procedure is minimally invasive, this also means that the patient will not experience much pain, either during the procedure or during recovery. Anesthetic is provided during the procedure, and painkillers may be prescribed afterwards in order to help with any residual pain.
The Procedure Is Safe for Most People
Facet block procedures are safe for most people. However, those who have active infections should not undergo a facet block procedure, nor should those suffering from a cold, flu, or high blood pressure. Women who are pregnant or are on blood thinners are generally not considered viable candidates for this treatment.
It is important to understand that, while the procedure is typically safe, there are no guarantees that it will relieve your back pain. If the pain continues, you and your doctor will need to explore a number of other treatment options that can provide the relief you need.
The Results Are Long Lasting
The results from the facet block procedure generally last several months, providing those who are suffering with symptoms of certain spinal conditions with long-lasting relief. Your doctor can perform this procedure for you up to three times a year if it is determined to be effective in treating your pain. There are currently no procedures available that permanently cure facet joint pain.
If the patient’s pain does not subside as a result of the procedure or it returns within a few hours, then the pain is likely not being caused by blocked facet joints. However, if the pain goes away immediately after the procedure, returns later in the day, and then subsides again over the next few days, it is a positive sign that the treatment is working. The steroid that was injected can take several days to have an effect on the pain.
Contact Our Facet Joint Surgeons from OLSS for Help!
There are many causes of lower back pain, including facet joint syndrome. If you’ve already been experiencing any sort of back pain, the knowledgeable medical team at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery is here to help you develop a treatment strategy.
Our specialists have extensive experience in orthopedics and laser surgery treatments. We know that waiting for a diagnosis can be frustrating, but we are here to help you understand your condition and to be involved in developing a treatment plan that works for you. We are at the forefront in using the latest technologies in order to keep our treatments as minimally invasive as possible. To schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, use our online contact form or call us at (855) 853-6542.