Facet Blocks vs Nerve Block Injection: What You Need to Know

Few afflictions are as painful as those involving the nerves surrounding the neck and spine. For those people, suffering debilitating pain is a daily struggle. If you have back pain, it’s common to feel overwhelmed about the situation. Thankfully, there are a number of procedures that can be applied to alleviate this pain. If you need help looking for pain relief options and determining which is best for you, Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help. Two common options are facet block injections and nerve block injections.

Our team of highly-trained doctors has over 50 years of experience helping patients in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. With their expertise and knowledge surrounding the similarities and differences with these injections, they can guide you toward the right treatment for you. We can show you less common options that may be more suitable, depending on your circumstances. Our team is dedicated to giving its patients the best care we possibly can, and we look forward to supporting you.

Facet Block Injections

Facet block injections involve a local anesthetic and steroid that reduces the inflammation in the facet joints, which are located along the back and neck. These injections are usually reserved for patients with one or all of the following:

  • Back pain from an injury
  • Arthritis in the facet joints
  • Spinal stress or injury

In most cases, facet block injections have a long-lasting effect on back pain. If they prove to be effective, the injections can be administered on a repeat basis.

Aside from pain management, the benefits of facet point injections include:

  • Outpatient procedure that usually takes just 10-15 minutes to complete
  • Minimally invasive and low risk of complications
  • Reduces inflammation and pain in a facet joint or joints
  • Provides diagnostic information about the cause, location, and pain source

As medicine and treatment have evolved, facet blocks can now include stem cells, making the effect much more powerful.

Nerve Block Injections

Also called neural blocks, nerve block injections can be administered anywhere along the spine. The purpose of these injections is to block pain signals that are coming from specific nerves, while also impeding the action of the enzymes that are causing the pain. Successful nerve block injections decrease these pain signals, providing relief and improvement of symptoms.

Nerve block injections are designed for the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Labor from delivery of a baby
  • Migraines
  • Pain from cancer treatments
  • Pain from trigeminal neuralgia
  • Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

Similar to facet blocks, nerve block injections use CT scans and fluoroscopic guidance to ensure the nerve block is administered in the right area. Nerve block injections have numerous benefits, including:

  • Management of chronic or long-term pain
  • Relieving pain after surgery
  • Immediate relief of severe acute or short-term pain
  • Regaining function of body parts or areas
  • Allowing the person to return to work relatively quickly
  • Improving overall quality of life

While the benefits of nerve blocks are immediate, they are often only a short-term fix. Pain is likely to resume within a few minutes or until the drug wears off.

What Are Steroid Block Injections?

A steroid block injection is almost like the middle ground between a facet block and nerve block injection. Also referred to as large point injections, the goal of the injection is to provide the body with enough help to reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces pain. They differ from nerve injections in that instead of an intense numbing agent, it’s a steroid. This classifies a facet block as a type of steroid block injection. 

Your spinal specialist will likely limit the number of steroid block injections you can receive so as to not cause tissue damage. The pain relief will last somewhere between one to three months, and has been found to be most beneficial to younger patients. It is most effective when it is used as a conjunctive treatment alongside physical therapy. 

Which Is the Right Treatment for Me?

The answer to this question depends largely on your condition and how your body responds to both injections. Whether or not your condition improves will determine if further injections would be beneficial. In general, facet joint injections and nerve blocks have varying degrees of success. Most patients reported experiencing reduced pain for around one to four weeks after the injection. The likelihood that the pain returns depends on several factors, including your medical history, injury, and other medications you’re on.

With repeated treatment, these injections can provide a window of opportunity for you to progress to other treatments or physical therapy, which can enhance and extend the effects of the treatment. Another benefit of injection therapy is that it has fewer risks of complications than surgery. However, consulting with our experienced team of surgeons can help determine the best course of treatment for you.

Who Is a Candidate for Nerve, Facet, or Steroid Block Injections?

If you are experiencing a great deal of pain in your back or neck, you may be a candidate for a block injection option. Which is best for your circumstances will largely depend on the placement and intensity of your pain, your lifestyle, and whether other options have been tried to alleviate the issue previously.

We recommend you work with a doctor and a spine specialist before deciding which option makes the most sense for you. Your medical care practitioners will have a far better analysis and understanding of your condition, including whether there is another underlying issue that needs to be addressed before proceeding with these measures. For additional information, don’t hesitate to contact the team at OLSS. Our surgeons and staff have the knowledge and experience necessary to lead you in the right direction for your needs.

Should I Work With an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon?

If you are experiencing severe pain in your spine or neck, working with a medical practitioner can be essential to speeding up your recovery. Pain can indicate that something is wrong and that your body is communicating with you, so ignoring these danger signals may result in a worsening condition and increased pain and suffering. If someone has recommended you see a specialist, or the pain you experience interferes with your daily activities, we suggest you work with an orthopedic spine surgeon.

An orthopedic and laser spine surgeon can help assess the circumstances closely, determine which treatment options are best and most feasible for your situation, and generally help you recover and manage pain. Your surgeon can also refer you to additional specialists if you need further assistance that can’t be addressed. At OLSS, we prioritize the well-being and health of each of our patients, and we can give you the same outstanding care.

Consult With Our Florida Facet and Nerve Block Specialists at OLSS

If you or a loved one is suffering from debilitating pain, facet blocks and nerve block injections could be the answer to your problems. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our team of experienced, skilled spine doctors specialize in pain relief and offer the latest in orthopedic treatments and pain management options like facet or nerve block injections. Our top priority is to make sure you can recover and enjoy your life. 

For more information about our services, contact our office today by filling out our contact form or calling (855) 853-6542. We are more than happy to discuss your condition and lifestyle in greater detail, answer any questions, quell any concerns, and provide you with additional helpful information you might need. We invite you to get in contact with us at your convenience.

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