Lumbar facet blocks are a common form of nonsurgical treatment for pain in the lower back. The procedure was first reported over 50 years ago as a conservative approach for treating lumbar back pain. The dual objective of a lumbar facet block is to reduce inflammation and identify the source of pain through the injection of anesthetic and steroid medication into the facet joints.
In this capacity, lumbar facet injections can provide therapeutic as well as diagnostic benefits. If the pain dissipates after the injection, it is most likely that inflammation in the facet joint area was the cause. The basic anatomy of the facet joints can help explain how lumbar facet blocks work.
Patients with lumbar facet syndrome often feel pain in the lower back area that radiates to the buttocks and hip area. This pain is typically exasperated during movement, such as extension of the spine. Successful lumbar facet blocks relieve this pain and therefore confirm the facet joint as the source of the pain.
How are Lumbar Facet Block Performed?
Research has supported the role of lumbar facet blocks as both a therapeutic and diagnostic tool to manage lower back pain. One recently reported study evaluated the outcome of lumbar facet blocks in patients with low back pain. During this investigation, patients were monitored for a period of nine months after receiving a lumbar facet block for lumbar pain. The results of the investigation revealed that the lumbar facet blocks were successful in alleviating pain in 74% of the test participants.
Conditions Related To Lumbar Facet Block
Lumbar facet blocks play a key role in a conservative pain management program for lower back pain. Once a diagnostic lumbar facet block reveals the source of chronic lower back pain, doctors and patients can make informed choices regarding an ongoing pain management program. Along with locating the cause of the pain, successful lumbar facet blocks provide the added benefit of improving function and quality of life without the need for invasive back surgery.
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