Lumbar Facet Joints
Lumbar joints, or lumbar facet joints, are small joints located in pairs down your spine in your lower back. These joints guide motion and provide stability in your spine.
Sacroiliac Joint or SI joint
The 2 lumbar joints are in the pelvis and are joined by strong ligaments. In humans, each sacrum supports the spine and is supported in turn by an ilium on each side. The joint is strong and weight bearing and there is one on the left and one on the right. SI joints connect the pelvic bones to the spine and absorb much of the force of the upper body as you move.
When any of these joints become injured or irritated they can cause chronic pain and discomfort.
Why are lumbar facet joint injections and SI joint injections helpful?
Joints often become painful due to injury, arthritis, or stress, and they can cause pain in various areas of your lower back, buttock, hip, or leg.
The injections have 2 purposes: first, they can help the doctor confirm the diagnosis and second, they can eleviate the pain. When Dr Higgs places numbing medicine into the joint, the amount of immediate pain relief you experience will help determine that the joint is the main source of your pain. If you have complete relief of your main pain while the Facet Joints or SI joint become numb, then these joints are likely the source of your pain. In addition, time-release cortisone can be injected into these joints to reduce the inflammation, which often provides long-term significant pain relief.
Dr Matthew Higgs is an expert in performing these injections which can help return you to a pain-free life.
What happens during the injection procedure?
- The procedure will be done at an outpatient facility and takes 20-30 minutes.
- You will lay down on an X-ray table
- An IV would be started to help you relax
- The skin above the area to be injected will be well cleansed and the area will be injected with some numbing medication.
- Anesthetic and anti-inflammatory cortisone will then be slowly injected into the joint
- There will be a short period of supervised recovery
What will I feel after the procedure?
The area surrounding the treated joint may feel slightly weak for a few hours after the injection and your original pain may not completely decrease for a few days. Ice is typically more helpful than heat during the first 2-3 days after the injection. It may take 2-5 days after the injection for the cortisone to be most effective.
How often can these injections be done?
Several injections can be done in a six-month time frame, often performed two or three weeks apart. It is common that the patient feels great relief after the first or second injection.
What results should I expect?
The local anesthetic provides temporary relief. The corticosteroid medicine will usually take two to four days following the procedure to be most effective and often lasts several months or longer.
You should not drive or participate in strenuous activities until the day after your procedure.
Lumbar Facet Joint and SI joint injections are not a cure but are very effective in providing great pain relief for an extended period of time.
Dr Higgs may provide longer lasting pain relief with, regenerative procedures such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which can be performed in the office. These innovative techniques encourage healing and give the potential for nearly permanent improvement.
Stop pain from interfering with your life.