Anyone who suffers from back problems knows all too well the severe pain it causes. A common method of diagnosis and treatment of back pain is through the use of spinal injections. Two types of spinal injection discussed here are the Transforaminal Epidural Injection, known as an NFI, and the Facet Block.
The NFI is a very selective and precise type of injection that will detect the specific nerve roots that is causing the back pain. By focusing on the individual nerve roots, the physician is able to isolate the source of pain and proceed to treat it.
The NFI is performed in the tiny openings in the vertebrae. These openings, known as foramina, allow the NFI to inject the medication around the troubled nerve root.
Patients are given an anesthetic to numb the area before the procedure. A physician then inserts a needle into the tissue surrounding the sensitive nerve root. In order to accurately guide the needle, the physician uses a fluoroscopy, a machine that provides a live x-ray image of the procedure. The physician will then administer an anesthetic into the tissue. Following the anesthetic, the medication, consisting of anesthetic and steroids, is injected around the nerve root.
Located on each side of the vertebrae, facet joints keep the spine flexible and hold together the vertebrae. When these joints become inflamed, an injection is often needed to provide relief.
Facet joint injections can diagnose and treat the pain. If the joint feels relief, then the source of pain has been isolated. Not only will the patient know which joint was inflamed, but they will also feel relief from the medication.
Before the procedure begins, patients are given a local anesthetic to numb the area. A needle is then inserted into the facet joint. In order to accurately guide the needle, the physician uses a fluoroscopy, a machine that provides a live x-ray image of the procedure. Once the needle is in the inflamed facet joint, a mixture of anesthetic and steroids is injected into the facet joint soothing the painful inflammation.
Between the bony structure of the spine and the spinal cord is the epidural space. This space makes room for nerves to run up and down the length of the spine. When the nerve roots become inflamed, an epidural block can be used to treat the pain. An epidural block is given by injecting anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space to soothe the inflamed nerve roots that’s causing the pain.
There are other types of injections and nerve blocks. Each treatment is dependent on the patient’s condition.
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