A lumbar facet block is an injection of local anesthetic and corticosteriod anti-inflammatory medication performed to diagnose or treat pain resulting from arthritis of the lumbar facet or facet syndrome, according to National Spine and Pain Centers. Lumbar facet joints are small joints located between spinal vertebrae.
Lumbar facet block is one of the available treatments for pain caused by disease or arthritis of the lumbar facet joints, indicates NYU Langone Medical Center. Each vertebra has two facet joints. The purpose of the facet joints is to provide mobility, stability and support to the spinal vertebrae. Facet disease occurs when the joints break down.
Lumbar facet block is an outpatient procedure performed by a doctor, states National Spine and Pain Centers. During the procedure, the doctor first applies a local anesthetic, then the medication is injected with a small needle into the spine. An X-ray is used to assist the doctor in locating the facet joints. The procedure typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Lumbar facet block may be used to diagnose or treat facet disease, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Diagnostically, the injection is given to determine if it stops the pain. If the injection does not provide relief, then the back pain likely has another cause. For treatment, the injection is given to relieve the pain.