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. 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. If an initial injection provided some degree of relief, a second injection could reinforce the pain-relieving effect (known as “build-up”). If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you may be a good candidate for facet joint injections.
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. 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 down the back of the upper thighs and buttocks. A facet joint injection is a procedure that identifies the source of irritation in the small joints in each segment of the spine. They protrude from the vertebrae and meet the facet joints of the vertebra, either below or above them.
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. It's important to know what to expect after receiving facet joint injections to be prepared for the recovery process. Although pain relief with facet joint injection usually occurs within 3 to 5 days, some patients experience improvement before or after this time period. 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 the injection effectively blocked your pain, but only for a short time, your doctor may recommend additional injections. 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 contain anti-inflammatory steroids and often also a local anesthetic.