Facet Joint Injections

Your facet joints are small joints found at each segment of the spine. Their purpose is to provide stability and help your spine move. However, you can experience pain in your facet joints due to conditions like arthritis or back injuries. When this issue occurs, facet joint injections can serve as a therapeutic option capable of providing relief.

The team members at OrthoBethesda offer facet joint injections to our Bethesda, Maryland patients as a non-surgical treatment to help block spinal pain. The injection procedure can be used in conjunction with physical therapy to allow us to help rehabilitate your back after you develop a condition or injury. Read on to find out if these spinal injections are right for you.

What Is a Facet Joint Injection?

A facet joint injection is a pain treatment that can be injected into three separate areas of the spine depending on where your pain is located — the cervical, thoracic or lumbar regions. By injecting a medication that contains a local anesthetic and steroid medication, we can anesthetize the facet joints and effectively block pain.

If your doctor recommends facet joint injections, they likely do so with two goals in mind:

  • Pain diagnosis: Once the numbing medication is injected into the facet joint, the pain relief experienced helps your doctor determine if it's indeed the facet joint acting as the source of your pain. Complete pain relief means that the facet joint is the likely culprit.
  • Pain relief: Facet joint injections provide time-release steroid medications that reduce inflammation. Some patients experience pain relief that lasts for a longer amount of time.

Your Facet Pain Treatment

If your OrthoBethesda physician recommends facet joint injections to treat your spinal pain, you can be sure that they'll walk you through the procedure to ensure you fully understand what will happen ahead of time. Facet joint injections are fairly straightforward:

  • A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin and tissue above the facet joint in preparation for the procedure.
  • Your physician will use an X-ray device called a fluoroscope to guide the needle into the correct position within the facet joint.
  • Injected contrast dye confirms the needle's correct placement.
  • With the needle in the proper place, your doctor will inject a mixture of anti-inflammatory steroid medication and anesthetic.
  • More than one facet joint may be treated during the procedure.
  • If your pain begins to subside, it could mean that the facet joint was the cause of your back pain.

After the Facet Joint Injection Procedure

After the procedure is complete, your back or neck pain may totally subside because of the administered anesthetic. However, as it wears off, you may find that your painful symptoms return. That's normal, so don't worry. A few days after your injection, the steroids should begin to take effect, which will reduce both inflammation and pain.

After facet joint injections, some patients experience pain relief ranging from several days to several months. You can receive up to three injections per year.

Learn More About Facet Joint Injections at OrthoBethesda

If you're experiencing severe back or neck pain, you could have spine arthritis affecting your facet joints. We invite Bethesda, Maryland patients to contact OrthoBethesda today. Our highly skilled team will work out a treatment plan with you that could include facet joint injections. Call us at (301) 530-1010 to schedule your appointment.

  • American Medical Association
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand - ASSH
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - AAOS
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • North American Spine Society - NASS
  • American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons - AAHKS