What is Cervical Facet Block & Treatment Method?
A cervical facet block is a procedure to relieve pain in the facet joints by injecting medicines into the cervical area of the spine. The treatment is to reduce any pain and inflammation from the facet joints. It provides relief to patients who have arthritis or degenerative joint disease. The swelling of these joints can lead to long-standing pain in your neck, arms and shoulders. Bones, called vertebrae, make up the spine. These bones are block-like and placed on top of each other. Facet joints are at the back of each vertebrae, one pair facing upwards and the other facing downwards. There are nerves around and inside them, that may lead to pain where damaged. The cervical facet joint is usually damaged in a whiplash injury or after spinal surgery on the neck.
The process includes inserting a thin needle along the cervical spine to the facet joint. First, the medical professionals give you a small amount of anesthesia and then inject the medicine for inflammation. Hence, a cervical facet block treats neck or shoulder pain. The treatment includes some cautions as well in case the medicine is not helping, or you feel any side effects. Primarily, you should call your primary healthcare provider. You should also make a list of medicines you take, including any vitamins and herbs. Also include the amounts you take and why you take them. During follow-up visits, do bring that list or the medicines. The entire process includesthree stages; the pre-operative, procedure, and post-operative.
When a patient checks in, he is escorted to the pre-operative area, where a clinical assistant will check and note down his weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and height. There may be any additional measures as necessary too. For safety, allergies and medications are verified. The physician will also ask you about any pain and will address any of your concerns.
After the pre-operative stage, they will ask you to enter the procedure suite to prepare you for the procedure. The clinical assistant will check your pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen during the whole procedure. The target area for injection will be cleaned and sterilized properly. They will apply sterile towels, and then your physician will numb the skin using local anesthesia and inject the needle carefully into the joint space. They visualize it accurately under fluoroscopic guidance. At this stage, the physician injects the medicine slowly into the affected joint. After removing the needle, they apply the bandage.
Your physician or clinical assistant will monitor you around 15-20 minutes after the procedure to discharge you. In this stage,they check your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen. The medical team will ensure the patient’s comfort and properly answer any queries or confusion before discharge.
They also recommend some aftercare, like rest for the remainder of the day and avoiding any activities that need strength. Ice should be applied if the area where the needle was inserted is tender. The following day, one can resume usual activities.