Lumbar Facet Block

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Lumbar Facet Block (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • A lumbar facet block is a procedure to inject medicines at facet joints in the lumbar (lower back) area of your spine (backbone). This procedure is done to decrease inflammation (swelling) of these facet joints usually caused by accidents or spinal surgery. The swelling of these joints may cause long-standing pain in your lower back, buttocks, or legs. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that are like blocks placed on top of each other. The spine protects the spinal cord, and nerves coming to and from the spinal cord. Facet joints are found at the back of each vertebrae, one pair facing upward, the other facing downward. They have nerves inside and around them that may cause pain when they are damaged or pinched.

  • During the procedure, a thin needle is inserted along the lumbar spine to the facet joint. Your caregiver will first inject a small amount of anesthesia (numbing medicine). He may then inject medicine for inflammation. With a lumbar facet block, your long-standing back or leg pain may be treated, and you may resume your usual activities.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Physical therapy:

You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.

Wellness tips:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

  • Drink liquids as directed: Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk.

  • Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

  • Manage stress: Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.

For more information:

Contact the following for more information:

  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
    Information Clearinghouse
    National Institutes of Health
    1 AMS Circle
    Bethesda , MD 20892-3675
    Phone: 1- 301 - 495-4484
    Phone: 1- 877 - 226-4267
    Web Address: http://www.niams.nih.gov

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.

  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.

  • You have a bad headache that does not go away even after taking medicine.

  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, procedure, or medicine.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You feel some parts of your body are numb, tingly, cool to touch, or look blue or pale.

  • You have pain in your back, buttocks, or leg that does not go away or gets worse.

  • You have trouble breathing or chest pain all of a sudden.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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