Facet Blocks Help With Back Pain

Facet Blocks Help With Back Pain

Many people throughout the United States suffer from back pain.  Back pain is very common as people get older, and typically results from the wear and tear the back goes through as people age.  One of the reasons back pain is so difficult to treat is because it is often difficult to find the exact source of pain.  Fortunately, there are a variety of different treatment options for those suffering from chronic back pain.  Consulting with a pain management physician can greatly help patients determine the best course of treatment and provide patients with alternates to prescription medication and surgery.

Facet blocks focus specifically on the facet joints in the spine.  These joints are some of the most common reasons patients face recurrent spinal problems.  Facet joints allow the spine to bend and twist.  Over time, these joints may begin to function improperly due to injury or overuse.  This ends up causing pain for the patient.  Facet joints guide the movement of the spine.  Therefore, if they allow too much or too little movement, the spine may be adversely affected.  Facet joint hypomobility may be caused by the joint becoming locked, arthritis, bone spurs, or muscle spasms.  Facet joint hypermobility may be caused by fracture, dislocation, or being overstretched.

Facet blocks can be used as a diagnostic tool or as a treatment tool by pain management specialists.  When they are used for diagnostic means, fact blocks are administered to see whether or not the patient experiences any pain relief.  If they do, then the physician knows they have accurately identified the joint, causing pain for the patient.  If the facet block does not relieve any pain, then the physician knows there is still more diagnostic work to be done.

Facet blocks are performed while a patient is under a local anesthetic.  A needle is inserted into the joint, and anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication is given to the joint.  It is a quick procedure that only lasts about half an hour.  Recovery is also simple.  Most patients who undergo a facet block find they are able to walk just fine immediately after the procedure.  The procedure is outpatient, so patients are able to go home the same day.  Results may vary from patient to patient.  Depending on the amount of medicine given and the way the patient reacts, relief can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months.

Back pain is a very difficult condition to live with and adversely affects the quality of life.  Many patients spend months or years trying to find ways to cope with back pain.  Fortunately, pain management specialists exist to help patients find the best-suited treatment for their specific situation.  In some cases, this means facet blocks.  Facet blocks can be used to diagnose the source of back pain or to manage the pain the poorly functioning facet joints may be causing.  By reducing or eliminating facet joint pain, patients are able to live a fuller and better quality of life that is not hindered by the pain caused by facet joints.