Osteoarthritis doesn’t just affect large joints like your knees and hips; it also develops in the facet joints that allow movement in your spine. The providers at Deschutes Surgery Center, LLC, in Bend, Oregon, have extensive experience identifying which facet joint is responsible for your pain, then alleviating your symptoms with a facet joint injection. To schedule an appointment, contact the surgery center at Central Oregon Spine & Sports.
A facet joint injection is a diagnostic and a therapeutic procedure. As a diagnostic procedure, your doctor at Deschutes Surgery Center uses fluoroscopic imaging to guide the needle into the targeted facet joint and inject a local anesthetic. If your pain is relieved, the facet joint is diagnosed as the source of your pain.
Following a successful diagnostic injection, your doctor performs a therapeutic injection. The second injection contains a local anesthetic and a steroid medication. The anesthetic provides rapid but short-lasting pain relief, while the steroid delivers long-lasting relief as it reduces inflammation.
Facet joint injections treat the pain caused by facet joint syndrome, also called facet arthropathy, which is osteoarthritis in the facet joints of your spine.
The vertebrae that make up your spine are connected by facet joints, which allow your spine to twist and bend. Additionally, nerves pass through the facet joints on their way out of the spinal canal.
Like all joints in your body, the bones forming the facet joints have a layer of cartilage that allows them to glide smoothly. Over the years, osteoarthritis can develop in the facet joints as everyday wear and tear causes cartilage degeneration.
Facet joint osteoarthritis can also develop following an injury or due to spine conditions that increase the pressure placed on the facet joint. For example, degenerative disc disease can cause the disc to collapse, which narrows the space between vertebrae, resulting in excessive pressure being placed on the cartilage in the facet joints.
Facet joint arthritis may occur anywhere in your spine, but it’s most likely to affect your lower back or your neck. The primary symptom is pain that may be chronic or occasionally flare up.
An acute flare-up may mimic other painful back conditions, such as a herniated disc. When your pain is chronic, it often feels like a dull, diffuse ache that may spread to the buttocks or shoulders.
Most patients also have trigger-point tenderness over the inflamed facet joint and some loss of muscle flexibility. When a nerve is pinched, you may feel pain, tingling, and numbness radiating down your leg or arm, depending on whether the affected facet joint is in your lower back or neck.
To learn whether your back pain may be relieved by a facet joint injection, contact Deschutes Surgery Center at Central Oregon Spine & Sports.