A diagnostic facet injection (DFI) — or facet block — is performed to determine or confirm the source of your pain. During the procedure, a solution of local anesthetics and steroids is injected directly into the facet joints in the spine. The facet joints are cartilage-lined joints on the top and bottom of each vertebra — they connect the vertebrae to each other. Facet joints enable movement and flexion in the spine. Wear and tear, repetitive movements, hypomobility or hypermobility can lead to the development of tears, pain, swelling and inflammation in the joints. If you have facet joint syndrome, you may experience stiffness, loss of movement in the back and increased pain with sitting and inactivity. Facet joint pain can develop anywhere along the spine — the cervical, thoracic or lumbar regions.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, we use facet blocks as a diagnostic tool to determine the source of your pain. If you experience pain relief after the injection, we can confirm the pain is coming from your facet joints. While the effects of the injection wear off over time, a temporary reduction in inflammation and pain gives you the chance to resume your normal activities, and it gives us time to create a long-term treatment plan for pain relief.
We perform diagnostic facet injections in a sterile operating room. The skin around the injection site will be numbed with a numbing agent. Your physician will use a fluoroscope (a live X-ray device) to guide a needle down to the inflamed, painful joint. Once the needle is in position, your physician will inject a solution of anesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications directly into the joint space to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. Once the injection is complete, the needle is removed and a small bandage is placed over the injection site.
DFI is a minimally invasive procedure. After the injection, you’ll spend 30-60 minutes in our office and speak with the doctor about any pain relief you’re experiencing. This will help your doctor make a successful and accurate diagnosis of your pain. You’ll be able to return home afterward. If the facet joint was the source of pain, you should have immediate pain relief from the anesthetics. After a few days, you should have longer lasting relief from the steroids. While results vary from person to person, a facet block could provide pain relief for a few days, weeks or even months.
We encourage you to learn more about minimally invasive surgery and the benefits here:
5 Advantages of Minimally Invasive Procedures
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, we specialize in identifying, diagnosing and treating a wide range of acute and chronic back, spine and joint conditions. If you’re experiencing back or joint pain, weakness, or a loss of mobility, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation with our team. We provide compassionate and comprehensive care to help you find relief from pain and get back to doing the activities you love.
Call us at 904-456-0017 or contact us online to request an appointment.