How Can Facet Joint Injections Reduce Pain
Commonly referred to as a facet block, a facet joint injection aims to “block” the pain being generated by an inflamed spinal joint. Typically, when performing this procedure, a physician will:
- Numb the skin and tissue above the targeted joint by injecting a local anesthetic
- Utilize an X-ray imaging technique (fluoroscopy) to precisely guide a thin needle through the numbed tissue and into the joint
- Inject a contrast dye to confirm that the needle is properly positioned
- Inject a mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medications directly into the inflamed facet joint
Facet joint injections can provide lasting but temporary relief, with the numbing and pain-blocking effects typically becoming apparent within a few days. The result can help a physician confirm that the treated facet joint is the source of the pain. In other words, if a facet block does not make any difference, the physician will explore other possible causes.