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What to Expect from Facet Joint Injections

Does your back or neck hurt when you turn, bend, or even try and get up out of a chair? While many conditions can lead to this type of pain and stiffness along your spine, your facet joints may play a role. If this is the case, facet joint injections provide the first line of defense against this type of back pain and neck pain.

The team here at Spinal Diagnostics understands when facet joint injections can help restore pain-free movement, and we’ve helped scores of patients regain their quality of life with this relatively simple treatment.

If you’re considering facet joint injections, here’s a quick look at what you can expect during this quick-and-easy procedure.

Inside the injection

The ingredients inside a facet joint injection are quite simple. First, we include a steroid to help reduce the swelling inside the joint. This is important because the swelling is compressing the sensitive nerve roots in your facet joints, which leads to both pain and stiffness.

Second, we typically include a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to provide you with near-immediate relief from your pain.

This respite from your pain provides you with much-needed relief. It also gives you time to strengthen the supporting tissues around your facet joints through targeted exercises and physical therapy. This work is essential and will help you to avoid facet joint pain down the road.

Delivering the injection

We deliver facet joint injections here in our offices, and the procedure usually takes less than an hour, at which point you’re free to return home.

When you arrive, we position you on the treatment table to easily access the problematic facet joints. We then apply a topical anesthetic, so you shouldn’t feel a thing during the procedure. 

When you’re comfortable, we use fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to guide the needle into position within your joint and release a dye to ensure that we’re targeting the right area.

Once we confirm that we’re on target, we deliver the steroid and anesthetic into your facet joint(s).

After delivering your injections, we may have you move around to see whether the injection has successfully quieted the nerves responsible for sending the pain signals. Please note that some patients don’t experience the effects of the injection for several hours.

After your injection

After we send you home, you may experience some soreness at the injection sites, which is perfectly normal. You should take it easy on the day that we deliver the facet joint injections, but you should be able to resume normal activities the following day.

As your pain decreases, you can add more strenuous activities to your routine to help strengthen the muscles surrounding your facet joints.

If your facet joint injections provide you with meaningful relief, we can perform this procedure three times a year, if needed. It’s difficult to say how long your results will last as some patients only need one round of injections per year, while others benefit from two or three.

If you’d like to further explore facet joints, contact one of our two locations in Tualatin or Newberg, Oregon, to learn more.

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