The thoracic joints are the spinal joints in the middle of your back, and they are between the cervical joints at the top of the spine and the lumbar joints at the base of the spine. These joints can become inflamed because of a wide range of issues and causes, such as arthritis, a serious back injury and more. The result of thoracic joint inflammation is usually moderate to severe pain in the middle of your back, in your chest and possibly in one or both arms. Because of the intensity of pain in some cases as well as the location of the pain, this type of issue can be debilitating at times. When you need effective relief from your thoracic joint pain, the treatment of a thoracic facet injection is an excellent idea to speak with your doctor about.
What Is a Thoracic Facet Injection?
With this type of steroid spinal injection, you will usually receive two shots or injections directly into your spine. The first is an anesthetic that is used to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed for the second injection. Your doctor will use x-ray technology to guide the second needle directly into your joint where the pain stems from. A time-release steroid will be administered into the inflamed spinal joint. This entire process takes only a few minutes to complete, but your doctor will typically ask you to stay in the office for approximately 30 minutes to ensure that the injection was administered in an area that will provide effective pain relief.
When Would You Benefit From a Thoracic Facet Injection?
The time-release steroid that is injected into one or more of your thoracic joints during this procedure is designed to reduce inflammation that may be causing you pain in your back or nearby areas. Because of how effective a steroid is at reducing inflammation, the individuals who would benefit most significantly from a thoracic facet injection are those whose pain is derived at least partially from inflammation in the back joints. In some cases, such as with an injury as the cause of the pain, the individuals may not need another treatment. However, if your pain is caused by an ongoing condition, such as arthritis, additional injections may need to be administered in the future when the effects of the steroid injection wear off.
What Is the Thoracic Facet Injection Treatment Process?
The treatment process involving a thoracic facet injection initially involves getting an accurate diagnosis regarding the cause of your pain. If your doctor determines that inflammation of the thoracic joints may be causing the pain that you are currently dealing with, he or she may recommend a steroid injection. If not, you may ask your doctor if this treatment option is available to you and if it is recommended. The doctor will usually numb the proposed injection site with an injection of an anesthetic. This will allow you to accept the thoracic facet injection more comfortably and with minimal or no movement. An x-ray view of your middle back will help your doctor to guide the steroid injection needle to precisely the right location so that you enjoy the most effective level of relief possible. In some cases, a patient may notice after the injection has been administered that the pain lingers. If this happens, the doctor may give you a second injection of the time-release steroid in another thoracic joint. However, be aware that it may be several days or more until you are fully pain-free because of the injection.
What Can You Expect After the Injection Has Been Administered?
Immediately after the injection has been administered, you typically will feel little or no pain because of the anesthetic that was used. As the anesthetic wears off, you may feel pain from the injection. However, the level of back pain and other related bodily pain that you previously were feeling may be diminished. Because the steroid is a time-release injection, it may take between two to five days to feel the full relief that the injection can provide. Typically, patients will need a ride home from the doctor’s office after this procedure, and you should not drive for at least 24 hours after the injection was given. While you can usually resume normal activities the following day, you may want to wait up to two weeks before resuming a physical exercise regimen.
Suitable for You
A steroid injection in the thoracic region may provide some people with permanent pain relief, but it may only offer long-term relief to others. Typically, it is a highly effective way for individuals who suffer from pain in the thoracic joints to find relief. Consulting with your doctor about the cause of your pain as well as the possible treatment options may help you to more easily determine if this type of pain management services and relief steroid injection is suitable for you.