Insight Pain Management – Did you know nearly three in five (58.9%) adults experience pain of any kind within a three month span? This is according to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reports the leading cause of pain in the U.S. is back pain (39%), followed by pain in the upper and lower limbs. Whether the symptoms are chronic or intermittent, patients experiencing pain know how quickly it can become unbearable, radiating to other parts of the body and impacting everything from work and exercise to daily tasks and overall quality of life.
They also know how difficult it can be to identify the root causes of their pain and find long-lasting relief, often trying countless medications, therapies, and even surgeries with minimal results. If this has been your experience, you may benefit from a minimally invasive procedure called a cervical facet joint injection. The following is a guide to cervical facet injections for neck pain and whiplash, as well as other areas of the body experiencing pain such as the back and arms.
What You Need to Know About Cervical Facet Injections for Neck Pain and Whiplash
Because there are many causes of neck, back, and other types of pain, the effectiveness of cervical facet injections varies. However, a number of studies demonstrate a success rate of 75% or higher, as indicated in research published by cms.gov, a federal government website for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Your doctor can help you determine if cervical facet injections for neck pain and whiplash may be effective in treating your symptoms.
What are Cervical Facet Injections for Neck Pain and Whiplash?
A cervical facet injection is a minimally invasive procedure that injects anti-inflammatory medications into the facet joints located between the vertebrae in the spine. These joints allow the spine to move freely, but they are susceptible to wear as we age and can become damaged from arthritis, stress, and traumatic injuries.
Prior to the procedure, a numbing injection is administered near the targeted location to reduce discomfort. Some patients may require sedation through an IV, depending on the location of the injection. A physician will then use a needle and x-ray equipment to inject the space between the vertebrae with a combination of steroids to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms over time. The entire procedure lasts less than an hour and it is outpatient, which means you can go home the same day.
Are Cervical Facet Injections Painful?
One of the most common questions asked is ‘are cervical facet injections painful’? Other than a slight burning or pinching sensation from the numbing injection, patients should not feel any pain from the procedure. However, it is not uncommon to experience some soreness near the injection location after the local anesthesia wears off.
Are There Any Cervical Facet Injection Side Effects?
Although all medical procedures carry some level of risk, cervical facet injections are minimally invasive and generally safe for most patients. The side effects patients report are generally mild, such as swelling and pain near the injection site. In rare circumstances, patients may have minor bleeding. According to a recent study published in the journal European Radiology, only 101 complications were reported after 11,980 procedures – all of which were related to infection.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Cervical Facet Injections?
A cervical facet injection is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that allows patients to experience fast pain relief with limited downtime. On the day of the injection, patients should plan to avoid strenuous activities and driving. However, other than some minor soreness, you should be able to resume normal activities the following day worry free.
When Can I Expect Results from Cervical Facet Injections?
Many patients experience relief from cervical facet injections on the same day of the procedure. For others, it may take several days to notice meaningful results. It is also not uncommon for patients to experience a brief increase in pain after the local anesthesia wears off, but this should only last for a few hours. It is difficult to determine how effective the procedure will be due to the varying factors of identifying and targeting the source of pain. Depending on the location of the injection and the severity of pain you are experiencing, relief can last anywhere from three months to six months or longer.
For the best results, most patients opt for a series of injections (up to three a year). In some cases, you may not experience any pain relief after an injection. This can occur if an injection does not adequately reach the source of your pain or if the pain is not the result of a facet joint issue. Your doctor will meet with you to determine next steps, including additional injections or other treatment methods, after each procedure.
Will Insurance Cover Cervical Facet Injections?
Costs for cervical facet injections range from approximately $600 to more than $1000 depending on your condition, specialist, and location. However, the procedure may be covered by insurance if it is considered medically necessary and meets the guidelines of your insurance provider. Every plan differs, so it is always advisable to speak to your physician and insurance provider to verify that your treatment is covered and what you can expect to pay out of pocket.
If you are suffering from chronic pain that is interfering with your work, family time, and everyday activities, cervical facet injections for neck pain and whiplash may help you resume your normal, active lifestyle. Not only are they minimally invasive and non-surgical, but they are also very safe and provide fast relief so you can resume your daily routine almost immediately. Insight Pain Management can help you determine the cause of your pain and the best treatment methods for your symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about cervical facet injections and schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.