Back pain that results due to arthritis or other degenerative disease may be able to be addressed with a facet joint block. During a facet joint block, medication is injected into both sides of the vertebrae on the spine. Depending on the type and location of pain being experienced, multiple injections may be necessary. The procedure may be done as a treatment method or to properly diagnose where the pain is originating.
Preparing for Facet Joint Blocks
Your doctor will provide specific instructions to follow before the procedure. For your safety and the success of the procedure, it is important to follow the instructions closely. Common instructions for facet joint blocks include:
• Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedures
• With the exception of insulin, most medications can be taken with a small sip of water prior to the procedure
• Your doctor will provide specific instructions regarding blood thinners
During the Procedure
Facet joint blocks are done inside of an x-ray room. To begin you will be placed on your stomach and you may have an IV. The IV may be used to provide fluids during the procedure or as a means of giving medication during the procedure. During the procedure:
• Your back will be thoroughly cleaned by the medical team
• The area will then be numbed using injections of a local anesthetic
• Needles are then used to inject the medication into the facet joints. An x-ray is used to ensure the needles are properly placed before the medication is injected
• After the procedure, the needles are removed and your back is cleaned again
• Bandages will be applied to the puncture sites
After the procedure, you’ll be transitioned into a recovery room while your vital signs are monitored. The time spent in recovery will vary between individuals.
After the Procedure
Many individuals feel immediate relief because of the local anesthetic. It is important to keep track of how you feel after the procedure and how those feelings progress as time goes on. Your doctor will provide specific information on follow up and your instructions for after the procedure