Dr. Lo combines a long-lasting steroid with an anesthetic agent to provide relief from both pain and inflammation.
A facet injection allows Justin Lo, MD in San Jose, California, to provide a potentially long-lasting treatment option for patients suffering from specific types of chronic pain. The goal of the injection is to block the pain in a way that allows for proper healing using two critical types of medication. One reduces the inflammation and the second provides temporary pain relief. A facet injection works as a diagnostic tool, as well, to confirm the source of the pain.
What is a facet injection?
With a facet injection, Dr. Lo combines a long-lasting steroid with an anesthetic agent to provide relief from both pain and inflammation. These injections are done in various areas along the spine, depending on the location of the pain. For example, a patient having neck pain might benefit from a facet injection in the cervical area while lower extremity pain is usually located in the lumbar region.
A facet injection does more than just provide pain relief, though. It is often a responsive diagnostic tool to confirm the source of a certain kind of pain. If the patient reports immediate pain relief after an injection, Dr. Lo can confirm the initial diagnosis.
Facet injections improve mobility for patients and open them up to more conservative treatment options like physical therapy, too. A patient with a back injury might not be able to tolerate physical therapy without this treatment. Once done, though, therapy strengthens the supporting infrastructure helping the injury to heal and prevent further damage at the same time.
How is a facet injection done?
The procedure is fast and straightforward. Dr. Lo and his staff has the patient lie face down on a procedure table and cleans the injection site thoroughly. A small amount of numbing agent applied to the skin makes the injection easy to tolerate, so there usually is no need for sedation.
Dr. Lo uses imaging equipment to pinpoint the best location for the injection and a small amount of dye injected confirms proper placement of the needle in the facet joint.
What is a facet joint?
A facet joint is a very specific type of joint found in the spine. The spinal column is made up of a series of bone pieces (vertebrae) stacked one on top of the other. The intersection of each piece creates a separate facet joint. This means that one vertebra can offer articular processes for two facet joints, one on the top of the bone and one on the bottom. These are the joints that Dr. Lo injects with medication as part of a pain relief plan.