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 unfortunate people, suffering debilitating pain is a daily struggle. Thankfully, there are a number of procedures that can be applied to alleviate this pain. Two of the most common are facet block injections and nerve block injections.

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our team of highly-trained doctors have 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.

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.  Still, 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 are 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 person to return to work
  • 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.

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.

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.