This procedure can provide pain relief for up to 6 to 12 months. The amount of time you experience pain relief will vary. For some people, relief may only last for a few weeks. Others may notice that the pain has gone away for months or even years.
If the pain recurs, you can always get additional injections. The long-term effect of the drug cannot be predicted. Usually, the immediate effect comes from the local anesthetic injected. The effect wears off in a few hours.
The steroid starts to work in about 2 to 7 days and its effect may last for some time. The beneficial effects of steroids generally require 2 to 3 days to be effective; in some cases, they may take up to 5-7 days. If your symptoms don't change after a week, see your doctor to investigate other possible causes of your pain. Using a fine needle and radiographic guide (fluoroscopy), the doctor will inject a contrast medium (X-ray dye) into or near the facet joint that is thought to be causing the pain.
A facet joint injection is a procedure that identifies the source of irritation in the small joints in each segment of the spine. Facet joint injections contain anti-inflammatory steroids and often also a local anesthetic. Considering that doctors may recommend facet joint injections as often as three times a year, a positive result can be expected to last about four months. If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you may be a good candidate for facet joint injections.
It's important to know what to expect after receiving facet joint injections to be prepared for the recovery process. They protrude from the vertebrae and meet the facet joints of the vertebra, either below or above them. If the effect of the first injection on the facet joint wears off after a reasonable amount of time, a second injection may be given to the facet joint. Facet joint injections in the lower back or lower back are usually useful when pain involves lower back pain that radiates down the lower back and slightly to the back of the upper thighs and buttocks.
If an initial injection provided some degree of relief, a second injection could reinforce the pain-relieving effect (known as “build-up”). Side effects of the injected steroid may include temporary weight gain, a temporary increase in blood sugar (mainly in diabetics), and temporary fluid retention; you can talk in more detail about the steroid medication when you are going to receive the injection. If the injection effectively blocked your pain, but only for a short time, your doctor may recommend additional injections.