Facet Joint Block
The Diamond Headache Clinic offers a full range of headache treatments that allow you to control your condition. Your physician-recommended treatment plan may include a facet joint injection. A facet block, or injection, helps to diagnose the source of your pain as well as relieve the ache and inflammation.
What Are Facet Joints?
Facet joints are located on both sides of the back of the spine. When facet joints in the cervical spine become inflamed or irritated, the patient may experience neck, upper back, shoulder or head pain. What causes facet joint pain? The most common sources are degenerative diseases of the spine, arthritis and trauma resulting from an accident or injury. A cervical facet joint block injection can relieve this pain and allow the patient to live a more pain-free life.
What Is a Facet Block for Headache?
Facet block injections involve injecting a local anesthetic and steroid medication into the painful joint in the cervical spine to relieve the inflammation and pain. If an initial injection of local anesthetic temporarily decreases your pain, then the doctor knows which facet joint is causing the pain. Once this is determined, the steroid is injected to treat the inflammation inside the joint.
Facet joint block injections are minimally invasive and safe. Sedation is not generally required, but may be given to patients who are extremely anxious. Your doctor begins by numbing the skin and tissue around the facet joint with an injection of a local anesthetic. With the aid of a fluoroscope (an X-ray device), the doctor guides a thin needle through the numbed skin directly into the facet joint. Contrast dye is injected to confirm that the needle has been placed correctly. Once the location has been confirmed, a mixture of anesthesia and anti-inflammatory steroid medicine is injected through the needle. If the pain is reduced, it is assumed that the injected joint or joints were the cause of the pain. More than one facet joint can be treated in a single visit.
After the injection(s), you will be monitored for about 30 minutes. Most patients return to work the day after the procedure. The pain relief you experience immediately following the procedure is likely due to the anesthesia. This wears off and some pain returns until the steroid begins working, which can be in as short as two or three days or it may take as long as a week. The injection can provide several months of pain relief. Your doctor will ask you to track your pain to determine the next steps in your treatment. You can receive up to three injections in a single year.
Living With Less Pain
Whether or not a facet joint block injection is right for your headache symptoms, Diamond Headache Clinic will work with you to determine exactly what kind of therapy will work best for helping you live with less pain. We offer a wide variety of therapy options ranging from physical therapy to pharmaceutical treatment to massage therapy and biofeedback. Our patient-centered approach means our specialists will work closely with you to find the treatment or combination of treatments that will reduce or lessen your headache symptoms. We want to get you back to enjoying life once again. No matter how severe your headache symptoms, or what form they take, Diamond Headache Clinic will find the solution that is best for your condition.
Because we focus on more than simply relieving the symptoms of your headaches and examine their causes, Diamond Headache Clinic can provide you with a framework for a healthier lifestyle that will relieve your headaches and improve your overall well-being. With our personalized, caring approach, our specialists work with your comfort as their top priority. Stop letting headache pain define the limits of your life — schedule an appointment with Diamond Headache Clinic today and learn how we can help you find relief.