What is Facet Block
When any person is suffering from back pain then exact area where there is damage in the spine is not properly exposed through X-rays or other diagnostic image testing techniques. So, in order to cure back pain properly the exact location should be known. It can be done by facet block which is a procedure in which location of pain and nerve damage is pinpointed.
The facet joints are small joints in our spine they are supportive in providing stability and guidance in motion. There can be twinge in them due to injury, physical stress, arthritis. The physician using a real-time x-ray technique named fluoroscope, an anti-inflammatory solution injects into facet joints to alleviate its pain.
To perform facet block the doctor will firstly make an enquiry from the patient regarding the areas in which there is recurrent and severe pain. After having an idea about the affected area the doctor will take X-ray of that area. Then he will ask the patient to lie on his or her stomach under the fluoroscope machine. The spine is sterilized and marked, and the machine is turned on to guide the placement of needle.
The solution that is used in needle can be anesthetic or steroid solution. After inserting the needle the response from the patient is noticed if he gets respite from the pain then injected area is right one. If no change is reported, then doctor can repeat the facet block on another vertebral joint. Even if multiple injections need to be injected then still this procedure can be performed in less than an hour.
You may feel some numbness or tingling in your legs, arms or on the surface of your chest. This is common and should go away within a few hours. If the site of the injection is painful then it can be treated with ice or a pain relieving medication.
If you are taking any blood thinner such as Coumadin and Plavix, you must stop taking them a week before you block. The alternate treatments to this can be manipulation, acupuncture, TENS or any other medication but these may not be suitable for everybody. After having facet block you should not immediately start doing hard work rather you should start your work, exercise in a mild fashion so that you can recover easily.