The benefits of lumbar facet injections include obtaining pain relief at the injection site and additional diagnostic information about the source of lower back pain, states the North American Spine Society. If a lumbar facet injection relieves the patient’s pain, the physician may determine the pain as originating in the facet joint and inject the joint with steroids or corticosteroids to provide long-term pain relief.
Before undergoing a lumbar facet injection, patients should let their physician know about any recent illnesses, hospitalizations, bleeding disorders, antibiotic treatments and medications, according to the North American Spine Society. While the primary physician or cardiologist advises the patient when and if to stop taking any medications, patients should stop taking medications that affect blood clotting three to seven days before receiving a lumbar facet injection. Diabetic patients should carefully observe their blood sugar levels on the day they undergo the procedure and two to three weeks afterward.
A lumbar facet injection is performed while the patient is conscious and his vital signs are being observed, notes the North American Spine Society. With the injection site numbed by local anesthetic, the physician makes the injection into either the joint itself or the nearby nerve, guided by fluoroscopy. The patient's heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level are continually monitored. Typically, the entire procedure lasts between half an hour and one full hour.