- If the facet joints that were treated are the source of the pain, the patient will have immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic and may begin to notice longer lasting pain relief from the steroid starting two to five days after the injection.
- If the patient has immediate relief with the numbing medication, but does not have any longer lasting improvement with the steroid, further diagnostic tests (medial branch nerve injection) or treatments (radiofrequency neurotomy) might be performed.
- If the patient does not have any relief with the numbing medication, further diagnostic tests may be needed to accurately diagnose the patient's pain.
- Ideally, patients should record the levels of pain relief during the first several hours, and during the next several days, in a pain diary. A pain diary is helpful to clearly inform the treating physician of the injection results and in planning future tests and/or treatment, as needed.
If the facet block procedure is effective in alleviating the patient's back pain, it is often considered reasonable for the procedure to be done up to three times per year. However, if the first facet joint injection does not relieve the patient's pain, then the injection should not be repeated.