You may start to notice an improvement in pain two to five days after receiving a facet joint injection. However, the steroid in the injection doesn't start working right away. It usually takes two to seven days for patients to begin to experience a reduction in pain. Immediately after the injection, there will be some relief thanks to the local anesthetic used.
The amount of time you experience pain relief will vary from person to person, from lack of relief to long-term pain relief. 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 four to six hours. Patients may receive up to four steroid injections per year, depending on their other health problems, or steroid injections in different areas of the body.
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. The purpose of facet joint injections is to reduce pain and inflammation in facet joints by injecting a steroid (a powerful anti-inflammatory drug) into the joint. Just as a finger, knee, or hip joint can cause you discomfort, so can the facet joints of the neck and back. 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 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.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 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.
The risks of facet joint injections are minimal and are similar to those of any procedure involving the placement of a needle.