As I am sure my readers know I have had several different types of spinal injections from epidurals to facet joint injections and even a life-threatening episode with one particular injection. But what are the pros and the cons of these types of injections which have given you time-limited pain relief?
The facet joint injection provides important information for your doctor and can also give you pain relief. Why do I have to have an injection in the facet joint? The procedure is designed to prove if the facet joint is causing your pain by placing a temporary medication to reduce discomfort in the joint.
The pros are that it provides a direct management for joint pain and inflammation. It provides faster pain relief and relieves moderate to severe pain. Steroid injections also provide faster pain relief than oral forms of anti-inflammatory drugs. Joint injections allow the drug to be absorbed in the blood stream faster than oral medications. Making pain receptors less sensitive, in turn sending fewer pain signals through the nerves
There are no stitches or open wounds to deal with, and because of this, you have an extremely small risk of infection. Overall, facet joint injections are considered a very safe treatment.
You may get between three weeks and three months’ pain relief from a steroid joint injection, though this varies. You can have the injections every three months if you need them. Generally, it’s best not to have more than four steroid joint injections in a year into any one joint. This is because there’s a chance any more could damage your joint.
The waiting list on the NHS for any spinal injections is long but having them done privately is not cheap. It varies across the UK from £1,200 in the far north to £2,043 in the south.
The cons are that steroids have various side-effects. Age can also become a factor with facet joint injections. As you age, your facet joint becomes more damaged. This makes the injection more technically difficult because the joint is too small and maybe tighter. You may also grow small bones called osteophytes, which you do not normally see on an X-ray.
You could have an allergic reaction or cause bleeding although this is usually only a risk with patients who are on blood thinners.
Minor infections occur in less than 1% to 2% of all injections. Severe infections are rare, occurring in 0.1% to 0.01% of injections.
You could get discomfort at the point of the injection or worsening of pain symptoms. And while very rare, damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can occur from direct trauma from the needle, or secondarily from infection, bleeding resulting in compression, or injection into an artery causing blockage.
Have you had any spinal injections and if so how long did the pain relief last? I would love to hear from anyone who has had this treatment either on the NHS or privately as I am trying to get as much information as possible to write a much bigger article on it.
For me personally I enjoy every second of my pain free time after my injections and would not hesitate accepting any being offered to me.