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Cervical Facet Block
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- A cervical (SER-vi-kl) facet (FAS-et) block is a procedure to inject medicines at facet joints in the cervical (neck) area of your spine (backbone). This procedure is done to decrease inflammation (swelling) and pain from these facet joints. The swelling of these joints may cause long-standing pain in your neck, shoulders, or arms. 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. The cervical facet joint is often damaged in a whiplash injury or after spinal surgery on the neck.
- During the procedure, a thin needle is inserted along the cervical 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 cervical facet block, your long-standing neck or shoulder pain may be treated, and you may resume your usual activities.
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.
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 headache that does not go away even after taking medicines.
- 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 neck, shoulder, or arm that does not go away or gets worse.
- You have trouble breathing or chest pain all of a sudden.
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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.