You may start to notice an improvement in pain 2 to 5 days after the injection. If you don't notice improvement within 10 days after the injection, it's unlikely to occur. You can take your regular medications after the procedure, but try to limit pain medications for the first 4 to 6 hours after the procedure. The steroid in a facet joint injection does not start working right away.
It usually takes two to seven days for patients to begin to experience a reduction in pain. However, immediately after the injection, there will be some relief thanks to the local anesthetic used. 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 disappeared for months or even years. If the pain recurs, you can always get additional injections.
It's important to know what to expect after receiving facet joint injections so you can be prepared for the recovery process. If you experience chronic back or neck pain that has lasted more than six weeks and other interventions haven't helped, your doctor may suggest that you try facet joint injections to try to relieve the pain. In some cases, medical imaging tests, such as MRIs or CT scans, may not detect inflammation or injury to the facet joint, so your doctor may suggest an injection to rule out that the facet joint is the source of pain. If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you may be a good candidate for facet joint injections.
If the injection effectively blocked your pain, but only for a short time, your doctor may recommend 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 facet joint injections don't relieve pain, there are other strategies you and your doctor can explore to try to relieve pain. If you experience any pain relief with the initial injection into the facet joint, your healthcare provider may suggest that you try repeating the injection to see if it is still useful.
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. Your provider may also inject a steroid medication into the facet joint, which can help reduce pain and swelling in and around the joint. Facet joint injections contain anti-inflammatory steroids and often also a local anesthetic. They protrude from the vertebrae and meet the facet joints of the vertebra, either below or above them.
A facet joint injection is a procedure that identifies the source of irritation in the small joints in each segment of the spinal column. 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. Considering that doctors can recommend facet joint injections as often as three times a year, a positive result can be expected to last about four months. .