13 Apr Reducing Arthritis Pain With A Medial Branch Injection
Reducing arthritis pain isn’t impossible or something only powerful painkillers can do. Facet arthropathy, or arthritis, affects millions and stops them from doing the things they love.
The good news is it isn’t just something you have to deal with. Medial branch injections target the affected facet joints, relieving your pain. This gives you more freedom to go back to doing things you thought you’d never do again.
Understanding Facet Arthropathy
Approximately 54 million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. That number is expected to increase to 78 million by 2040. These are only medically diagnosed cases and don’t account for people who know they have arthritis, but try to treat it on their own.
Reducing arthritis pain is a dream for anyone who suffers with it. Even though it’s usually an age-related degenerative issue, you don’t have to simply suffer through it. Treatments are available for the over 100 types of arthritis.
If you’re dealing with facet arthropathy, which is arthritis that affects the facet joints, medial branch injections may prove to be an effective, non-surgical treatment option.
How Medial Branch Injections Work
Medial branch injections use steroids to block the pain from arthritis. While these injections can also be used to treat certain types of back pain, they’re also useful for arthritis pain. They’re also highly effective for diagnosing the source of your pain.
Medial branch injections are injected into the facet joint itself. Instead, they’re injected outside of the joint at the medial branch nerve. Arthritis pain can be caused by either your facet joints or the medial branch nerve. Knowing the source helps your doctor provide the best treatment possible.
The medial branch nerve is blocked from sending pain signals to your facet joints. It usually only takes a few minutes to do. If you experience relief of up to 80%, you might then be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation.
Effectiveness Of Medial Branch Injections
If the medial branch injection uncovers that your facet joints are the main cause of your pain, facet joint injections may be more effective. Medial branch injections are only effective for temporary pain relief, which may last several hours. Facet joint injections can last up to a year and half, though it takes a few days for maximum pain relief.
Much like with medial branch injections, a facet injection uses an anesthetic medication to numb the area during the injection itself. A small needle also injects a long-lasting steroid directly into the facet joint causing the pain. The procedure is carefully monitored using a live X-ray to ensure the needle is injected in the right place.
Overall, it takes around 15-30 minutes. As the steroid spreads, you’ll start to feel some relief. It’s just the start of reducing arthritis pain for a much longer period.
Benefits Of Injections
Medial branch injections are ideal for diagnosing your arthritis pain to find the right treatment. Facet joint injections, if the pain is caused directly by the facet joints, offer a variety of benefits.
First, you’ll experience less pain. If you’ve given up on activities you love, you may be able to go back to them. It’s important to take it slowly at first to let your body adjust to the new activity.
Second, you’ll take less pain medication. Arthritis pain can be severe. It’s not unusual to rely on powerful pain medications or take higher than recommended doses of OTC medications. Either way, less pain meds is always a benefit and safer for your entire body.
Finally, you’ll stay more active overall. Arthritis often means having to slow down. Less physical activity can drastically affect your health and mood. Moving more keeps you healthier, especially if you can move without pain.
We want you to take control over your arthritis pain. Schedule a consultation with Integrated Pain Consultants either online or by calling us at (480) 626-2552 to discuss your options and find out if this is the right treatment strategy for you.