What are facet injections/medial branch blocks? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash

Facet injections are used for patients that experience low back pain and leg pain due to inflammation or issues with joints.  Patients that receive this type of treatment have usually undergone other types of treatment that haven’t work such as physical therapy, use of anti-inflammatory medicines, or bed rest.   They can treat patients that facet arthritis, pain after back surgery, or low back pain without disk disease.

What are facet blocks?

These are steroid injections that can help reduce inflammation and swelling around the joint tissues.  They can be used to relieve pain but they can also help diagnose more serious issues of the joints.  If it works, patients can get relief from pain for days and in many cases, permanently.  During the procedure, you will lie on a table with your back or neck exposed, and then the doctor will clean the area, and then will usually numb the area before the injection occurs. At this point, the doctor will slowly inject the area with the steroid.  You will likely feel pressure but not a lot of discomfort. The procedure generally only takes a few minutes.  After it’s completed, you will be required to stay in a recovery area for up to 30 minutes to allow for observation.

After the procedure, you should have assistance in driving you home and you may feel discomfort in the area injected for up to 5 days. After the 5th day, most patients start feeling relief in the area.  For many patients, the first injection does not provide much relief, so a short series of injections may need to happen.  Your doctor can talk to you about his or her recommendations on this.  Even if your first injection is successful, many times additional injections are needed to ensure the problem is taken care of.

To find out if this procedure is for you, or if facet injections are the right option for your pain, contact Dr. Cash at www.disclv.com.

You can also view Dr. Cash's Verified Reviews® at www.medrounds.org/Dr_Andrew_Cash or his personal page at www.andrew-cash-md.com.