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Facet Blocks

Facet Joint Injections

Facet joints (also called zygapophyseal joints) are small joints of the spine that provide stability and help guide motion. They are found in the neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic) and lower back (lumbar). They can become painful as a result of arthritis, injury, or mechanical stress. However, this is not necessarily the sole cause of long term back pain.

Two nerves called “medial branches” supply each facet joint. These nerves carry pain signals to the spinal cord and these signals will eventually reach the brain.

There are two main pain generators of the spine, discogenic pain (pain because of a disc) or facet pain. Dr. Adam Weitzman will determine the source of the pain during your examination. If it is determined that the pain is coming from the facet joints and you are not responding to physical therapy or chiropractic care, he may recommend facet injections.

Lidocaine or a similar medicine is used to numb one of more facet joints. If the patient feels more than 80% relief immediately after the procedure, we have confirmed that we were able to identify that the facet joints were the source your pain. After a second confirmatory test, Dr. Adam Weitzman may recommend radio frequency ablation.