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Facet Blocks Specialist

Glaser Pain Relief Center

Interventional Pain Management Specialists located in San Fernando Valley, Encino, CA

When the stabilizing facet joints in your spine begin to break down, it can cause chronic pain in your neck and back. Did you know that we have 56 joints in our spine? At Glaser Pain Relief Center in Encino, California, serving the San Fernando Valley and the Greater Los Angeles Area, pain management specialists Jeffrey Glaser, MD, and John Zheng, DO, offer in-office facet joint injections that deliver medications directly into the joints to relieve pain from spinal arthritis. To find out how facet blocks can work for you, call Glaser Pain Relief Center or book an appointment online today.

Facet Blocks Q & A

What are facet blocks?

Facet blocks are a minimally invasive pain-relieving and diagnostic treatment for chronic back pain and neck pain that results from facet arthropathy, which is arthritis in the facet joints of your spine. Your facet joints sit on either side of your vertebrae and provide a range of motion and stability for your spine.

Facet arthropathy is a frequent cause of chronic pain in your back and neck, but the condition often goes undiagnosed. The team at Glaser Pain Relief Center offers comprehensive diagnostic testing for this type of arthritis and uses facet blocks diagnostically and as a treatment.

What happens during a facet block procedure?

A facet block uses a local aesthetic to disrupt the nerve signals coming from the facet joints of your spine. Using the guidance of fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray, your physician at Glaser Pain Relief Center places a needle containing the anesthetic medication into your facet joints.

If the injection successfully relieves your back pain or neck pain, your pain specialist can identify facet arthropathy as your diagnosis. They may continue using facet blocks to successfully manage your pain.

However, if you experience greater than 80% relief after two facet blocks, your physician might recommend a different procedure known as radiofrequency ablation (rhizotomy) to treat your pain with longer-lasting relief. Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure to destroy the nerves responsible for neck and back pain and provide you with pain relief for six to nine months.

How long does it take to recover from a facet block injection?

Following a facet block, it’s normal to feel some soreness at the site of the injection for several days. You can use ice to minimize swelling and discomfort. However, if your back or neck pain was coming from arthritis, that deep-down arthritic pain should be alleviated.

As the medications begin working, you should notice a significant decrease in your pain. Most of the time, the purpose of a facet injection is diagnostic to determine if your back or neck pain is coming from facet arthropathy. If it is, therapies like radiofrequency (RF) ablations/rhizotomies can be employed for longer-lasting relief.  

The local anesthetic placed around your facet joints will wear off in several hours. You will be given a pain log to keep for the first six hours following your procedure. If you receive 80% or greater relief in the first few hours following your procedure, the diagnosis of facet arthropathy can be confirmed, and the RF ablation/rhizotomy procedure may be recommended. 

To find out if you’re a candidate for facet blocks to treat chronic back and neck pain, call Glaser Pain Relief Center or book an appointment online today.