September 15, 2015
Can Neck Injections Relieve My Chronic Neck Pain?
Corticosteroid injections target swollen and damaged joints in your neck, allowing for better spine flexibility and less pain.
19% of the United States population, which amounts to 39 million people, have persistent neck pain. Neck injections can help reduce pain caused by the inflammation of your neck’s facet joints. Chronic neck pain can be indicative of a larger health problem, such as degenerative disc disease, arthritis or osteoporosis. While facet injections cannot cure these diseases, they can provide long-term relief from the painful symptoms.
What Are Facet Neck Injections?
Facet injections target your neck’s facet joints, which are found between the layers of vertebrae in your spine. These joints allow the spine to move comfortably. If the facet joints are damaged or swollen, they can cause pain from pinched nerves, rubbing bone and compressed space in the spine.
The facet injections used to treat neck pain are a blend of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic. The steroids reduce swelling around the joint, which lessens pressure on your nerves, and the anesthetic helps numb the immediate pain of the injection.
Before the medication is injected, the doctor will also use a local anesthetic to numb the skin at the site of injection. These highly targeted neck injections do not take long to administer—typically just a few minutes. In cases of severe pain, two doses can be injected during the same session for the maximum amount of pain relief.
Some patients experience immediate pain relief from their neck injections, but this is usually a side effect of the anesthetic. It can take anywhere between two days and three weeks until you start to notice a considerable difference in your pain levels.
For the most effective pain relief, you should return to your pain management doctor every three to six months for follow-up injections. Maintenance of your chronic neck pain is much easier if you do not allow it to get out of control before treating it. Talk to your pain management doctor about the right schedule of facet injections for you.
Do Neck Injections Cause Any Side Effects?
The side effects of facet injections are usually minor. The site of injection will likely be sore for a few days after the injection. Treat your discomfort with alternating ice and heat to soothe the ache. Less common and more serious side effects include spinal blockage, bleeding and infection. If your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen, contact your doctor immediately.
If facet injections fail to treat your pain or lose effectiveness over time, you may need to talk to your doctor about your surgical options.
If you suffer from chronic neck pain and want to know more about where you can get neck injections in Arkansas, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 877.918.7020 to schedule an appointment with one of our pain management specialists.
Need help making an appointment with a surgeon?
*Photo courtesy of Paul Stumpr via Flikr CC 2.0