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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 care professionals on each side.
A fluoroscope may be used to help the doctor see your spine during the procedure.

During the procedure

You may be given medicine to help you relax. You will lie on an exam table on your stomach. During your treatment:

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

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

  • The injection is given. It may contain a local anesthetic to numb the region around the joint, medicine that eases inflammation (steroids), or both.

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

After the procedure

Most often, you can go home shortly after the procedure, generally 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 a few days. Your provider 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 health care provider

Call your provider if you have any of these:

  • Severe headaches

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

  • Weakness in your arms or legs

© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.