Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injection or facet block is a minimally invasive, relatively simple and straightforward procedure in which injection is given to block the pain arising from small facet joints (cervical, thoracic or lumbar facet joints). The injection comprises of a small amount of local anaesthetic (numbing agent) and/or a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication, which can anesthetize the facet joints and block the pain. Injection is performed using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) for guidance to properly target and place the needle and also to help avoid nerve injury or other injury.

Facet joints are small joints at each segment of the spine that provide stability and help guide motion.

Indications for Facet Joint Injection

The injection is given in painful facet joints due to:

  • Arthritis of the spine

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Spondylolysis

  • Sciatica

  • Herniated disc

  • A back injury

  • Mechanical stress to the back

  • Facet syndrome

  • Postoperative pain

Benefits of Facet Joint Injection

  • Pain relief for nine to fourteen months, and for some patients up to two years and beyond

  • Better tolerance to physical therapy & rehabilitation

  • Appropriate diagnosis of the cause and location of pain

  • Reduced inflammation that will provide longer-term pain relief

  • Improved activities & motion

  • Least potential risks

  • No down time of surgery

How often can the injection be given?

The injection should be limited to maximum three within a six-month time frame. But in most of the cases, only one or two injections can give the desired pain relief to the patient. It can be followed by radiofrequency neurotomy or denervation for more effective results, if necessary.