When it comes to the duration of pain relief that patients may experience due to a facet block, there really isn't a concrete answer. However, doctors may suggest that facet joint injections can provide positive results for up to four months. When the source of the pain is located, patients usually feel immediate relief due to local anesthesia. This medication will wear off after a few hours, and it may take two to seven days before the lasting effects are felt.
The amount of time you experience pain relief will vary from person to person. Some people may only get a few weeks of relief, while others may find that their pain has gone away for months or even years. If the pain recurs, additional injections can be administered. 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, it is important to consult your doctor to investigate other possible causes of your pain. Before a facet joint injection, you may be given a diagnostic injection called a medial branch block near a nerve that comes out of the facet joint. If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you may be a good candidate for facet joint injections. If the first injection into the facet joint does not relieve the patient's pain, it should not be repeated.
However, if some degree of relief was experienced, a second injection could reinforce this effect (known as “build-up”). It is important to know what to expect after receiving facet joint injections so you can be prepared for the recovery process. A facet joint injection is a procedure that identifies the source of irritation in the small joints in each segment of the spine.If the injection effectively blocked your pain, but only for a short time, your doctor may recommend additional injections. 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.