What’s the difference between epidural injections and facet injections?

When it comes to injections for back pain and sciatica, there are two injections that are commonly used – Facet Injections and Epidural Steroid Injections. In fact, there are thousands of them performed every day across America due to their effectiveness.

What Are Facet Injections

Up and down the spine from the neck all the way to the sacrum, there are facet joints on either side of the spine at every level. Facet JointThese are thumbnail sized joints that contain cartilage and allow for a little bit of motion. Collectively, there are over 40 of them and allow for an incredible range of motion with bending, flexing and twisting.

These joints are susceptible to arthritis just like another cartilage joints, therefore, facet joints involve injection of steroid and numbing medicine into those arthritic joints.

The success rate for facet joint injections is very high, and the pain relief may last four weeks to months. Injections can be repeated every so often. So in essence, facet joint injections are meant to treat back or neck pain as a result of arthritis in the facet joints.

Pain Management with Epidural Injections

Epidural injections for pain management, on the other hand, are meant to treat the effects of nerves getting pinched. This may include a herniated disc causing sciatica, or spinal stenosis leading to pinching of the spinal canal or nerve roots.

Epidural injections are not traditionally meant to treat back pain for neck pain. Rather, they are meant to treat buttock, thigh or  eg pain that results from a nerve getting pinched and inflamed.

They may also help tremendously with shoulder or arm pain due to nerve root in the neck getting pinched. So in essence an epidural steroid injection is meant to relieve the pain in the arm or leg due to a nerve root getting pinched. Its very different than a facet joint injection.

Both types of injections have success rates of 75% or higher for their intended purpose. Pain relief may last for weeks to months with either type of injection. Premier Pain & Spine in Chicago offers both of these procedures at eight locations around the Chicago metro area.

The top pain doctors are experts in both medication management and interventional procedures.

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