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Facet Joint Injection: Your Experience

The treatment is done in a hospital or surgery center. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms, including a consent form. You may also be examined.

Person laying on X-ray table with two health professionals on each side.

During the Procedure

To help you relax, medication may be given through an IV (intravenous) line. You will lie on an exam table on your stomach, back, or side. This depends on where you will be injected. During your treatment:

  • The skin over the injection site is cleaned. A local anesthetic (pain medication) numbs the skin.

  • Fluoroscopy (X-ray imaging) may be used to help the doctor see your spine. If so, a contrast “dye” may be injected into the affected area.

  • The injection is given. It may contain including a local anesthetic to numb the region around the joint or steroids (medications that reduce inflammation).

Man relaxing in comfortable chair. Woman serving him a cup of tea.

After the Procedure

Most often, you can go home in about an hour. Have an adult friend or relative drive you. The anesthetic wears off in a few hours. When it does, your back or neck may feel more sore than usual. This is normal. Take it easy for the rest of the day. The steroids most often begin to work in about 3–4 days. Your doctor can tell you when it’s OK to go back to work.

Risks and Complications

Risks and complications are rare, but can include:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Prolonged increase in pain

  • Nerve damage (very rare)

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Severe headaches

  • Fever over 101.0°F (38.3°C), chills, redness or drainage at the injection site

  • Weakness in your arms or legs


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