Lumbar Facet Injection

What is a lumbar facet joint injection?

A lumbar facet jointinjection is a procedure used to treat pain arising from the joints in the back of the lower (lumbar) spine.  These joints are called the lumbar facet joints and sit behind the disc.  Lumbar facet pain is seen with degenerative conditions and is more common with older age groups.  Lumbar facet pain may occur with degeneration of an injured disc.  The disc normally cushions the vertebra.  The decreasing cushion from a degenerative disc places more stress on the lumbar facet joints.  Lumbar facet pain can also occur after falls and motor vehicle accidents.

How is a lumbar facet joint injection performed?

To perform a lumbar facet joint injection the doctor places a small needle through the skin and navigates the needle via x-ray guidance to the site of the lumbar facet joint, along the bony lower spine.  A combination of an anesthetic (pain killer) and a steroid (anti-inflammation drug) is injected into the joint.  The anesthetic provides immediate pain relief.  The steroid reduces inflammation inside the joint for up to 2-3 months.  The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain long enough for the painful joint to improve on its own.

How long will the procedure take?

Allow yourself an hour to be prepared for the procedure.  The actual procedure will take about 15 to 30 minutes.  After the procedure you will recover for 30 minutes to an hour before going home.

What is the recovery like?

You can generally return to normal activities by the next day.  you can shower the same day as the procedure.

The 4 Pillars of Treating Chronic Spinal Pain

George Rappard MD discusses the 4 key pillars of spine care. The 4 pillars are physical therapy and chiropractic care tailored to your condition, appropriate selection of medical therapy, pain injections targeting your specific pain source and, as a last result, minimally invasive motion and stability preserving spinal surgery performed as an outpatient procedure. Through effective use of the first 3 pillars only about 5% of our patients need to go on to have back surgery or neck surgery.

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