Facet Joint Injections

There are small joints on each side of the spine from neck to sacrum called facet joints or zygopophyseal joints. Through the aging process, we may develop arthritis and inflammation in these facet joints that could cause neck pain or back pain. However sometimes without inflammation or arthritis these joints could still cause pain, particularly after repetitive injuries or motor vehicle accidents. If there is inflammation in these joints, your doctor may recommend injecting steroid and numbing medication into these joints using fluoroscopic guidance. However sometimes instead of injecting steroid into these joints, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic block called Medial Branch Blocks. Medial branch nerves are small terminal branches of spinal nerves that gives innervation to the facet joints. These diagnostic blocks usually last only short term but may help to establish what the source of pain is and if you might be candidate for a specific treatment called Radiofrequency Ablation (Radiofrequency Neurotomy). Insurance companies often requires that patient has positive response to diagnostic blocks on two separate occasion before Radiofrequency Ablation can be authorized.