Pain, allergic reaction, bleeding, infection and nerve damage are possible side effects of facet injections in the lower spine, states Spine-health. Flushing, fluid retention, mood swings and insomnia, and elevated blood pressure and blood sugar are possible reactions to the injected corticosteroids.
There are not many risks involved in facet injections, notes Mayfield Clinic. The patient may experience pain at the injection site, but it usually does not last long, explains Spine-health. Bleeding may occur in those who take blood thinning medications or who have bleeding diseases, and infections develop in less than 2 percent of patients. Nerve damage, which is quite rare, may occur when the needle is inserted or as a result of infection or bleeding that causes compression.
The corticosteroid injected during the procedure may cause the patient to flush and feel warm, says Spine-health. The patient may retain fluids, gain weight and feel unusually hungry. His mood may be unstable, with possible anxiety and irritability, and he may have sleep issues. Blood sugar and blood pressure may rise, and the patient may experience a period of decreased immunity. Most side effects diminish within three days, notes Mayfield Clinic.
A facet injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can alleviate back or neck pain, explains Mayfield Clinic. Doctors also use the procedure to determine if pain originates in the facet joints. During the procedure, a long-lasting corticosteroid is injected into the facet joint.