Mention arthritis and most people think of painful knees and hips, but arthritis also affects the joints in your spine. When it does, facet injections and medial branch blocks provide effective pain relief. At Innovative Pain Specialists, Paul Marsiglia, DO, and Demetrios Louis, MD, get maximum results by performing precise facet-related injections using advanced real-time imaging. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Arlington Heights or Libertyville, Illinois, or book a consultation online today.
Facet joints connect the vertebrae in your spine; each vertebra has two facet joints that allow movement, like twisting and bending. The joints also absorb shock and help stabilize your spine.
Facet injections relieve pain inside the joint. A medial branch block, another type of injection, also reduces pain, but it targets the nerves outside the joint and stops pain signals from reaching your brain.
You may need one of these injections when the tissues in the joint become damaged or inflamed, causing pain and limiting your spinal movement. Many conditions can cause enough pain to need an injection, including herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, and acute or overuse injuries.
However, arthritis most often results in facet joint pain. Like other joints in your body, cartilage covers the bones in the joint, and synovial tissues line the joint. Over the years, these tissues break down, become inflamed, and arthritis develops.
Innovative Pain Specialists can inject both treatments into any vertebrae and medial branch nerve in your spine. They also use fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray, to guide both injections.
An intra-articular injection goes directly into the joint. The injection contains a local anesthetic, with or without steroids. The anesthetic quickly relieves pain by blocking nerve signals, while steroids ease your pain by reducing inflammation inside the joint.
A medial branch block also contains an anesthetic and may include steroids. However, your provider delivers the medications at the medial branch nerves.
During a diagnostic medial branch block, your provider injects the anesthetic to see how quickly it alleviates your pain. If your pain decreases, the injection verifies that the targeted nerve is the source of the problem. This means you can have a therapeutic medial branch block (an anesthetic and steroids) or another procedure such as radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation is another minimally invasive procedure delivered using a specialized needle. Your provider inserts the needle, places it at the identified nerve, then sends a controlled burst of radiofrequency energy through the needle to the nerve.
The heat creates a wound that stops pain signals from traveling through the nerve. This treatment provides pain relief until the nerve heals, taking nine months or longer.
If you need relief from facet joint pain, call Innovative Pain Specialists or book an appointment online today.