At the Barcelona Spine Institute, we offer ultrasound-guided treatment to control facet joint pain by blocking the facet joints and the medial branch of the posterior nerve, which innervates the facet joint and the intrinsic spinal musculature.
The treatment is performed with the patient lying face down, and awake but under sedation or local anaesthesia. A mixture of corticosteroid and anaesthetic is injected using ultrasound to guide the needle.
This procedure is usually repeated at several sites, depending on the location of the pain in each person, and it usually takes about 30 minutes.
Shortly after the procedure, the patient can walk and return home, although they are advised not to drive and should be accompanied. When the anaesthetic wears off, the back pain may return, as the corticosteroid can take from 7 to 10 days to have an effect. Patients usually return to their normal life and work after 24 hours.
The effect of the block usually lasts from several months up to a number of years, especially if it is combined with exercise, weight control and postural hygiene, rather than a stand-alone treatment.
The risks associated with facet joint blocks are minor, as the procedure is guided at every stage, and they include local discomfort at the injection site, which passes after a few hours with conventional analgesic treatment. People who are sensitive to pain may experience vasovagal syncope, the most common form of fainting (associated with heat, sweating, nausea and hypotension). This is not serious and can be alleviated with atropine.
Los riesgos del bloqueo facetario son leves, siendo el procedimiento guiado en cada momento, e incluyen molestias locales en la zona de la punción que ceden en pocas horas con tratamiento analgésico convencional y, en personas sensibles al dolor puede ocasionarse un síncope vasovagal, que es la forma más común de desmayo (se asociada a calor, sudor, náusea, hipotensión). No es grave y cede con Atropina.