Preparing For A Lumbar Facet Joint Block With Radiofrequency
Despite the fact that a lumbar facet joint block using radiofrequency treatment is a very common procedure, many patients have never heard of it and there can be some trepidation about this very simple and quick procedure.
Lumbar facet joints are to be found at each and every level of the spine, with there being some 25 pairs in total. Each facet joint is connected to a nerve, which is why these joints can cause problems, because they can then tell the brain that the spine is in pain. They also provide a very important supportive role to the spine because they help to make the spine flexible and have a good range of movement, and in addition they provide some strength to the spine. But when these joints are traumatised by injury or a medical condition, then the pain that is experienced can be significant.
When traditional techniques have not been successful then radiofrequency treatment may be the recommended course of action.
The Procedure of Radiofrequency Treatment
The procedure is of radio frequency is relatively quick and doesn’t even last an hour, with it usually being over within 30 minutes or so. An Xray is used to direct the needle, an anaesthetic and or sedatives can be applied as required and then the radiofrequency current is applied into the radiofrequency needle and the nerve is then heated and numbed. Usually more than one nerve is treated and it is very quick, relatively pain free and a procedure that is effective without carrying a significant number of risks.
Preparing For Radiofrequency Treatment
There is little to be done in terms of preparation for this treatment; in fact he most important thing to do is to relax and look forward to pain levels being reduced. Most people do find that there are significant improvements in terms of the pain levels experienced, so it really can make a difference.
The night before the procedure alcohol intake should be moderate, simply to ensure that you feel no ‘after effects’ when you are having the treatment.
Usually patients will be issued with specific guidance about when to stop eating and drinking (other than water) prior to the procedure. A period of fasting for 8 hours is generally prescribed.
If you are taking any other medications then it is important to take them as normal; however, if you are taking any blood thinning tablets/anti-coagulants, then you need to have specific advice about when you should stop taking these tablets. This will be decided by your cardiologist and specialist working together.
It is also advisable to have someone to drive you home after the injection, so it is important to organise this prior to the procedure.
However these are the only things that need to be undertaken prior to a lumbar facet joint block being done using radiofrequency; it really is a safe and effective procedure and it can make all the difference in terms of how it improves pain levels.