Facet joints are small joints at each segment of the spine that provides stability and helps guide motion. Often, facet joint injections are performed to help diagnose the cause and location of pain and to provide pain relief. The injections are recommended to be performed under flouroscopy (live x-ray) to ensure maximum results. Using a needle, small amounts of steroids and a local anesthetic are injected into the facet joints. The injection itself only takes a few minutes, but the entire procedure usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes. Often, you can feel numb or experience a slight weakness or odd feeling in the upper back for a few hours after the injection.
On the day of the injection, do not drive and avoid doing any strenuous activities. On the day following the procedure, you can return to your regular activities. If the facet block procedure is effective in alleviating your back pain, the procedure can be performed up to 3 times per year.