Painful facet joints in your spine may be soothed by injecting a steroid medication into the affected joints, a procedure called facet joint injection. Facet joint injections can also help confirm a diagnosis of a facet joint dysfunction.

See Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Facet Joint Injections

We recently added the Facet Joint Injections Procedure Video to our Spine-health Video Library to help you understand why your facet joints may be causing pain and how this procedure works to provide relief.

Video highlights

First, let's take a look at how your facet joints can become disordered and cause back pain.

See Facet Joint Disorders and Back Pain

In this image are 3 sets of paired facet joints, located in the back of the spine separating the vertebrae.

Healthy facet joints are important because they help support the spine and all the bending and twisting movements it performs.

See Spinal Anatomy and Back Pain

Cartilage limits the friction on the opposing surfaces of the joints.

A synovial fluid-filled capsule also surrounds each facet joint, adding an additional lubricant to reduce friction as the 2 sides rub together.

Many different conditions, such as osteoarthritis, degenerated discs, spinal stenosis, or trauma may cause these joints to become inflamed and painful.

See Selective Nerve Root Blocks (SNRB) and Facet Joint Injections

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To get started with this procedure, your physician will ask you to lie face down on a table.

See Treatment Options for Facet Joint Pain

Next, your doctor will treat the skin and tissue around the facet joint with a numbing agent.

Your physician will then guide a small needle into your facet joint, with the help of X-ray guidance, called fluoroscopy. He or she will inject a contrast dye into the joint to confirm the needle is correctly placed.

See Facet Joint Injection Potential Risks and Complications

Once the needle is in the correct location, your doctor will begin to slowly inject a mixture of anesthetic, such as lidocaine, and anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, into your joint.

If your facet joint was the source of your pain, you will notice immediate pain relief after the procedure is over.

See Facet Joint Injection Pain Relief Results

Learn more:

Radiofrequency Neurotomy for Facet and Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Facet Joint Injection Pain Relief Results