Facet joints, located along the back of the spine, are small joints that allow a bending motion between vertebrae. When facet joints become irritated or experience inflammation, significant pain can result. Lumbar facet joint injections anesthetize the areas surrounding facet joints, providing the patient with a measure of relief. Lumbar facet joint injections are commonly used to provide sufficient relief to allow the patient to engage in physical therapy. These injections can also be beneficial as a diagnostic tool. If a facet joint injection leads to the immediate cessation of pain, then the practitioner is able to identify these small joints as the source of the patient’s back complaints.
At the Sports and Spine Institute, Dr. Patel and his team offer a number of different injection therapies. Sacroiliac joint injections can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain in the lower back. Cervical epidurals are often effective for patients who are experiencing pain in their shoulders, neck or arms. Lumbar epidurals provide the same measure of pain relief for patients who are experiencing back pain. In many cases, a lumbar epidural can alleviate pain for several months, giving the patient’s body a chance to heal from the injury or condition that caused the back pain.
As with most medical appointments, patients can make things go smoother by taking a few preparatory steps. Bring a list of all current medical conditions and medications, as well as information about any known allergies. Certain procedures require that patients refrain from eating or drinking for a period of time leading up to the appointment, so it is always a good idea to ask a member of the scheduling staff if any special measures should be taken. Finally, it can be helpful to the practitioner if the patient is experiencing a normal level of pain at the time of the appointment. If pain is present, then the physiatrist will be able to determine if spinal injections provide immediate relief.