What treatments are available for my spine pain?
Once we’ve learned all we can about your condition through our thorough and accurate diagnostic process, we can create a pain-relief plan specifically for you. Some of the treatment options we offer for spine pain relief include:
- Baclofen pump therapy — the implantation of a small machine to deliver pain medication directly to the spinal cord
- Occupational therapy and physical therapy
- Prescribed medications
- Spinal cord stimulation therapy — the use of electrical currents to block the brain’s ability to sense pain from the spinal cord
- Spine surgery
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS — the use of noninvasive devices to decrease nerve pain with electrical currents
One particularly effective method of pain relief our doctors use is facet joint injections.
What are facet joint injections?
Facet joint injections are also known as facet blocks. These minimally invasive procedures involve the use of anti-inflammatory medications known as corticosteroids to relieve spine pain.
Our doctors inject these medications into the spine’s facet joints. These joints connect individual spine bones (vertebrae) and allow your spine to bend and twist. Swelling or irritation of these facet joints can cause neck and back pain.
Can facet joint injections help me?
We use facet joint injections to treat a number of severe spinal issues, such as:
- Back injuries
- Mechanical stress to the back
- Spinal arthritis
- Spinal arthropathy, or joint disease of the spine
- Spondylosis, or a degeneration of the spinal column
We also use facet joint injections to help us diagnose spinal problems. These injections can give us information about the source of spinal pain, which we can use to help us treat the pain’s cause.
What can I expect during a facet joint injection?
We use fluoroscopy — a type of X-ray that produces a live image on a monitor — to guide the injection. You’ll lie on your stomach, and we’ll sterilize your skin at the injection site.
After we give you a local anesthetic to numb the injection site, the doctor will insert a needle and guide it to the correct facet joint. Then the doctor will inject the medication into the facet joint.
Afterward, we’ll take you to a recovery room for observation. We perform most facet joint injections on an outpatient basis, so you should be able to go home the same day. In rare cases, some patients may need to stay in the hospital overnight after an injection.
What if facet joint injections don’t work for me?
If repeated facet joint injections don’t provide long-term spine pain relief, your doctor may recommend a procedure called radiofrequency ablation. In this minimally invasive procedure, we use radio waves to prevent nerves from transmitting spine pain to the brain.