Cervical facet joint pain is often the result of some form of joint dysfunction, an injury or some other type of irritation. The pain stemming from an irritated cervical facet joint can manifest as muscle tension, or it can escalate to severe pain and discomfort. Where the pain radiates from is dependent upon which joint has been affected. Typical pain presents from the head down into the shoulder blades.
The Cervical Medial Branch Nerves are located in a bone groove in the neck. The small nerves are tasked with sending pain signals from the cervical facet joints to the brain. During the treatment of cervical facet joint pain, an anesthetic is injected over the patient’s cervical medial branch nerves to stop pain signals transmitted from the facet joint temporarily. The procedure involves using fluoroscopy x-ray techniques to guide a thin needle directly into the facet joint. A dye may also be injected to assist positioning the needle correctly.
If the patient’s symptoms subside, then the provider can confirm that the joint is responsible for the discomfort.