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Thoracic Facet Injection

A thoracic facet injection is a surgical procedure performed to reduce pain in the upper back or chest as a result of direct trauma, mechanical stress or arthritis. Thoracic facet joints are small joints that hold the vertebrae together providing stability.

A thoracic facet injectionplaces local anaesthetic and steroid solution into the membrane surrounding the facet joint to reduce pain and inflammation. The injection also relaxes the surrounding soft tissue to aid movement.

Physiotherapy treatment following a thoracic facet injection will get your upper back moving again effectively whilst strengthening muscles and increasing independence with everyday activities. The injection does not treat the underlying cause of pain so it is crucial to seek physiotherapy treatment to improve the range of movement and strength in your upper back so you can get back to the activities you enjoy.

Symptoms following a thoracic facet injection

You may experience an area of discomfort following the injection. You may or may not feel improvement during the first few hours after the injection. Pain relief usually occurs between 3-5 days.

Physiotherapy following cervical injection

To get the best out of your injection you should commence physiotherapy treatment as soon as possible. Physiotherapy treatment at will guide you through a structured rehabilitation programme to re-introduce previously painful activities and exercise to increase the mobility and strength in your upper back to improve your ability with routine and recreational activities.

Your physiotherapist at will maximise the success of the injection and prevent re-injury.

Physiotherapy treatment will aim to:
  • Improve range of movement and muscle strength
  • Improve posture
  • Increase confidence with everyday activities such as driving, lifting and reaching.
  • Teach you ways to self manage your condition and control symptoms
  • Return you to activities you enjoy

1-2 weeks

The first couple of weeks of your rehabilitation programme will focus on reducing any pain and inflammation and getting you back moving again. Your physiotherapist at, will initial assess how your current symptoms are affecting your day to day lifestyle and begin developed a structured programme in order to your rehabilitation potential.A progressive exercise program will also be introduced to help maximize your range of movement. Physiotherapy may include:
  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Gentle active and passive range of movement exercises
  • Soft tissue massage to reduce spasm by helping muscles relax
  • Pain management
  • Advice about positioning and movement

2-6 weeks

Following the initial stage of your recovery, treatment will be progressed to strengthening exercises in the upper back, chest and shoulder girdle to improve ways to strengthen the muscles. Physiotherapy will also target general fitness such as increasing walking distance. Physiotherapy treatment may include:
  • Continuation of active range of movement exercises to strengthen the muscles in your back
  • Stretching to lengthen tight muscles
  • Graded joint mobilisation to help lubricate joint surfaces, easing stiffness and reducing pain.
  • Fitness conditioning such as walking, swimming and stationary cycling to improve general fitness
  • Ergonomic assessment to assist the way you move at home or at work and preventing further problems.

6-12 weeks

Your physiotherapist at this stage of your recovery will concentrate on training specific muscles in you back to gain strength and provide stability. The exercise programme will also be specific to you incorporating those activities that you value the most. Physiotherapy treatment may focus on:
  • Abdominal and back strengthening exercises with external apparatus
  • Core stability strengthening
  • Continued aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming and stationary cycling
  • Continued stretching exercises through range
  • Exercises that are specific to your functional and sporting activities

12 + weeks

At this stage in your recovery, your physiotherapist will focus on reaching your specific functional and/or recreational goals by increasing your flexibility and strength as well as teaching you how to manage symptoms and how to prevent future episodes from occurring. Functional goals may include inability to sleep through the night without pain, stand/walk for 30 minutes, sit for an extended period of time, or turn the head adequately for driving. Physiotherapy at this stage will focus on:
  • Achieving treatment goals and returning to activities important to you
  • Continued strengthening exercises
  • Long term management
Physiotherapy treatment following a thoracic injection is vital as it will target your range of movement, muscle strength and posture and optimise your rehabilitation potential, enabling you to achieve activities in a safe and effective manner. Call now on 0330 088 7800 for more information or to book an appointment please contact us.

Read more about our Consultant Led Injection Services.

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