What are cervical facet joints?
Cervical facet joints are small joints located in pairs on the back/side of your neck. These joints provide stability and guide motion in your spine. Why are facet joint injections helpful? If the joints become painful due to arthritis, injury, or mechanical stress, they can cause pain in various areas. The cervical facet joints can cause pain in your head, neck, shoulder or arm. What will happen to me during the procedure? An IV will be started so that adequate relaxation medicine can be given, if needed. After lying on an x-ray table, the skin over the area of the spine to be treated will be well cleansed. Next, the physician numbs a small area of skin with numbing medicine (anesthetic), which stings for a few seconds. Next, the physician will use x-ray guidance to direct a very
small needle into the joint. He then injects several drops of contrast dye to confirm that the medicine only goes into the joint. A small mixture of numbing medicine (anesthetic) and anti-inflammatory cortisone is then slowly injected. How will I feel after the procedure? On occasion, the part of your treated spine may feel slightly weak or odd for a few hours after the injection. You may notice a slight increase in your pain lasting for several days, as the numbing medicine wears off before the cortisone becomes effective. Ice is typically more helpful that heat during the first 2-3 days after the injection.