Depending on the source and type of your back pain you may have discussed and considered the possibility of a lumbar facet joint nerve block with your pain specialist. What is this procedure and what are the benefits? Moreso, what are the potential benefits to your condition and overall health?

A lumbar facet joint nerve block is the injection of an anesthetic into the joints in the vertebrae that make up the lower spine.

The procedure is most often recommended for patients dealing with pain related to osteoarthritis in this area, but it may also be useful for other conditions. It may also be used as a diagnostic method to determine if the pain is centered on these small joints, or as a way to relieve pain.

Most people who undergo a lumbar facet joint nerve block report little pain during the procedure. Typically it is described as a stinging or burning at the injection site. However, every patient is different and the procedure will not be the same for everyone.

Benefits for lumbar facet joint nerve blocks include:

  • 50% of patients who received this treatment reported significant improvement in their symptoms
  • Pain relief can last for several months which can aid in physical therapy
  • The procedure can be performed up to three times in one year

There are some potential risks to know before you schedule this procedure. Patients with certain other conditions should make sure their pain specialist is aware of their medical background if the procedure is recommended. These can influence how or if nerve blocks will work for you. Other potential risks include bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, headaches, and in some rare cases, even nerve damage. Talk to your doctor about your risk assessment.

Do you believe that a lumbar facet joint nerve block can help treat your chronic lower back pain?

Image by Dawn Huczek via Flickr

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