Interventional Pain Management & Neurosurgeon located in Fort Smith, AR
The facet joints in your spine can be a source of chronic and often severe back pain. If you're experiencing the symptoms of facet joint pain, board-certified neurosurgeon Tim Maryanov, MD, and his team at Fort Neuro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, can help. Facet injections contain a local anesthetic and steroid medication to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. You could feel the benefits for several months or possibly longer, so call Fort Neuro today to schedule a consultation or use the online booking tool.
What are facet injections?
Facet injections are a treatment method for chronic pain that's not responding to conservative remedies like rest, physical therapy, and medication. Facet injections can also be a useful diagnostic tool, as facet joint problems don't always show up on X-rays or MRI scans.
The Fort Neuro team uses lumbar facet injections to treat persistent lower back pain and pain in your buttocks, hips, and groin that's coming from your lumbar facet joints. A neurological consultation for peripheral nerve pain can determine whether facet injections would be of benefit.
Facet injections consist of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid. The local anesthetic numbs the area, providing temporary pain relief, and helping to identify which facet joints are causing your pain. The corticosteroid has potent anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation in the facet joints.
What are the facet joints?
Your facet joints connect the bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine and help guide the spine's movement. You have facet joints on both sides of your spine, each roughly the same size as your thumbnail.
Facet joint pain could be due to injury of the cartilage inside the joint or the ligaments connecting the bones. Facet joint pain can range from uncomfortable muscle tension to severe, disabling back pain, depending on the joint involved.
What happens during a facet injection?
First, your provider at Fort Neuro numbs your skin with a local anesthetic. Then they insert a slender needle directly into the facet joint. The team uses fluoroscopy, a type of real-time moving X-ray, to ensure the safe and correct positioning of the needle.
Your provider may also inject a special dye to make sure the needle is in the right place before delivering the injection.
After your facet injection, the team monitors you for up to 30 minutes. If all is well, you go home with your aftercare instructions and a pain diary. It's essential to fill out your diary as instructed because it helps the Fort Neuro team know how well your injection is working.
How long does it take for facet injections to work?
You might feel immediate pain relief in your back for a while after your facet injection. This means the medication is in the right place and working.
After a short pain-free period, you might find the pain returns as the local anesthetic wears off. The pain may even worsen a little for a day or two. This might be due to needle irritation or the effect of the corticosteroid.
It usually takes two or three days for corticosteroids to start working, but it could take up to a week. The effects might last from several weeks to several months, and sometimes even longer.
Find out whether facet injections are the right choice for your chronic pain by calling Fort Neuro today or book your appointment online.