A Quick Guide to Facet Injections

Dealing with spinal issues can be debilitating. It’s probably hard to stand up. You may experience shooting pains due to affected nerves that spread throughout the body, and you could experience headaches. Luckily, modern medicine provides plenty of opportunities for chronic pain relief without relying on the extended use of typical pain medications. The facet joint injection procedure offers temporary, yet sometimes long-term relief for certain painful conditions associated with the spine. The procedure makes up more than 30% of spine injections, so the procedure is routine and safe.

Can a facet joint injection procedure help you?

 Do you struggle with the inability to stand up straight due to osteoarthritis? It could mean that one or more of your facet joints, joints between vertebrae along the spine that help humans move, are disturbed due to your condition. You may be a candidate for facet joint injections, which will help you lead a more fulfilling life with less pain. Facet joint injections may also be used to treat patients who are injured, or who have caused damage due to improper posture over lengthy periods of time. This is a relatively conservative treatment, so it may be one of the first suggestions your doctor makes when you relay your concerns about your condition. Sometimes, facet joint injections are used to diagnose specific conditions, and to help target the cause of pain.

What is in a facet joint injection?

Like other joint injections, the main ingredient in facet joint injections is a steroid. This specific type of steroid acts differently than its more famous relative – and it will not pump up those muscles. Instead, it reduces or completely rids the area of inflammation. Inflammation is caused by injury or disease, and it draws white blood cells to it like a moth to a flame. Due to the excess blood matter, you struggle with swelling and tenderness. The corticosteroid in a facet joint injection creates a chemical reaction that suppresses the inflammation, so your valiant white blood cells can do their job somewhere else, and you get to dull the chronic pain you’ve been living with for too long.

What can you expect when you go in for a treatment?

You’ll arrive at the clinic, where you’ll tie on a medical gown so your doctor can gain access to the treatment area. After you lie on a table, your doctor will begin the process.

If you’re going in for a diagnostic facet joint injection, you’ll start the procedure with a saline injection to induce the pain you feel in the joint. Then, an anesthesia injection will counteract the effect.

Treatment of specific conditions is easier, as you don’t have to deal with the saline injection. Instead, you’ll be treated with a mixture of local anesthetic and steroid. It takes less than a week for the steroid to take effect. Multiple treatments may be necessary for long term relief as the medicinal benefits wear off.

Are you ready to schedule your facet joint injection? Call us today!


Joe Wakefield, Laura Ritchie, Michelle Harvey, Rachael Lowe, Tommy Pearson. Lumbar Facet Joint Injections. Physiopedia. Retrieved from http://www.physio-pedia.com/Lumbar_Facet_Joint_Injections.

Ray M. Baker, MD. (2013, March 22). Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Facet Joint Injections. Spine-health. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/cervical-thoracic-and-lumbar-facet-joint-injections.

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