Facet joints are small joints at each segment of the spine that provide stability and help guide motion. The facet joints can become painful due to arthritis of the spine, a back injury or mechanical stress to the back. A cervical, thoracic or lumbar facet joint injection involves injecting a steroid medication, which can anesthetize the facet joints and block the pain. The pain relief from a facet joint injection is intended to help a patient better tolerate a physical therapy routine to rehabilitate his or her injury or back condition.
Facet joint injections are typically used to either diagnose the cause of pain and/or to provide pain relief. If the facet block procedure is effective in alleviating the patient's back pain, it is often considered reasonable for the procedure to be done up to three times per year. However, if the first facet joint injection does not relieve the patient’s pain then the injection should not be repeated.
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