Minimally Invasive Treatments
Facet Joint Injections
A facet joint injection is a diagnostic procedure used to determine the source of back pain. The injection itself is a combination of steroid and anesthetic, and is injected directly into one of the four facet joints. The anesthetic provides temporary relief while the steroid’s effects are longer lasting, but diagnostically it either confirms or rejects facet joint pain. In other words a patient who responds to the injection has back pain stemming from one of their facet joints. If the patient doesn’t experience any improvement, further testing must be done and joint pain can be ruled out. Symptoms of Facet Joint pain include pain in the following regions:
- Shoulders or neck
- Legs or arms
Guyuns Canal Syndrome, similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed by surrounding tendons in the wrist. The conditions is caused by overuse of the wrist, frequent pressure on the palm, and pressure or irritation of the ulnar nerve. Symptoms include a pins and needles like feeling in the fingers often felt in the early morning hours, and clumsiness of the hand. A Guyon-Canal injection is a corticosteroid injection used to decrease inflammation and decrease pressure on the ulnar nerve, which relieves pain. The relief typically lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Head Pain Injections
Pain outside the spinal area is diagnosed with a peripheral nerve block, which may be inserted in the occipital nerves in the cervical area. The occipital nerves span from the base of the neck to the scalp and they may be damaged by trauma or conditions such as diabetes, neck tumors or gout. Patients may experience tenderness in the scalp, pain when moving their neck, pain radiating from the base of the head to the scalp and sensitivity to light.
Occipital nerve blocks are placed with the help of ultrasound imaging, and injected directly into the affected nerve. This minimally invasive treatment option uses corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and minimize pain. This medication is injected into the occipital nerve and provides immediate pain relief due to the anesthetic. The corticosteroid produces longer-term pain relief that typically begins a few days after the injection. Normal daily activities can usually be resumed the following day. The effectiveness of occipital nerve blocks varies from patient to patient, and pain relief may last anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Cortisone is a chemical produced by the body to counter inflammation. Cortisone produced by the body is short-acting, and has only a temporary impact on inflammation, so is not very effective in helping to heal acne cysts or nodules. Cortisone injections, however, use highly concentrated cortisone, so are more effective in immediately reducing redness and inflammation, and providing long-lasting results. Although cortisone is a steroid, it is not an anabolic steroid, which is commonly used to increase strength and muscle size, and known to have harmful side effects.
Cortisone injections are used to treat severe and sustained deep-tissue acne. Severe acne may include cysts or nodules that develop on the face or other areas. Nodules are large, painful, solid lesions lodged deep within the skin. Cysts are deep, painful, pus-filled lesions. They are often difficult to clear up with common acne treatments such as topical medications. Deep-tissue acne can be painful and last for months. If left untreated, it can cause permanent scarring. Cortisone injections provide fast and effective relief.