Maryland Pain Doctors

Facet Joint Injection

The facet joints are small paired joints of the spine that provide stability and facilitate certain movements. The facet joint itself is small and irregularly shaped which makes direct injection difficult. Instead, the facet joint is blocked by anesthetizing the medial branch nerve that provides sensation to the joint. Facet blocks, or rather medial branch blocks, are performed for patients who have primarily back or neck pain due to arthritis. A facet block or medial branch block is done for diagnostic purposes so you will need to have your usual back or neck pain prior to the injection. If your usual pain goes away or is reduced significantly after the facet block, then the facet joints are considered to be the pain generator. If you get significant short-term benefit from the facet block, you will be offered another procedure on a subsequent visit to treat the problem. This second procedure is called radiofrequency facet denervation or rhizotomy. Radiofrequency ablation can provide relief from facet joint pain for several years.

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