Doctors give facet joint injections by using a needle to put steroid medication directly into the spine's facet joint, according to Interventional Spine & Pain. Fluoroscopy, a type of medical imaging, is used to locate the joint and determine where to put the needle. Typically, patients receive local anesthesia.
Patients should fast during the eight hours prior to the injections, Interventional Spine & Pain notes. Facet joint injections take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to administer. After a short recovery period, patients go home to rest and relax. For the first couple of days after the injection, some people experience increased joint pain. They typically notice less pain within three to five days, and pain relief lasts about three months.
Facet joints are located all along the spine from the neck to the lower back, states Interventional Spine & Pain. Arthritis. A spinal degenerative disease or trauma such as a car accident causes pain in those joints. If joints near the base of the spine are affected, patients experience pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, thighs or groin. Trouble with higher joints shows up as headaches or pain in the neck, upper back or shoulders. If injections don't bring satisfactory pain relief, sometimes doctors destroy the nerves connected to the affected joint.