Facet joint pain arises from degenerative changes within the facet joint. These changes may cause inflammation. The mainstay of treatment is anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care and activity modification. If these treatments fail to provide adequate pain relief, injections may be considered.
Facet injections may also be used as a diagnostic evaluation. If the pain decreases significantly after the injection, this helps to verify the joint as a pain generator. This can be helpful in planning future treatment. These injections can provide relief from pain for days or even years or, in some cases, permanently.
Facet injections are primarily used to manage facet joint pain (or facet syndrome) which is a type of arthritis located along the spine (osteoarthritis.) The deterioration of the facet joints in the spine can cause several types of pain.
Facet joint degeneration happens when the cartilage between the two joints is gone and bone begins to rub against bone. Serious pain can manifest in the neck, upper back or lower back. Depending on where the arthritis is, it may be harder for the sufferer to move their neck, back or hips – meaning walking, sitting or looking around can be much more difficult.
Treatments for facet joint osteoarthritis can help reduce the pain and keep it at a manageable level.