Immediately after facet joint injections, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some pain and bruising at the injection site. This is normal and should resolve within a few days. You may also be given an ice pack or a compression bandage to relieve any swelling. As with most procedures, there is a remote risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury, or allergic reaction to the medications used.
Other short-term side effects may occur. If the local anesthetic extends to nearby nerves, you may feel weakness or numbness that can last for several hours. If this happens, you may need to stay in the Pain Management Center until it is resolved. You may feel increased pain for a few days after the injections, including localized pain at the site of the injection.
A facet injection may cause increased pain. This pain is usually temporary and is related to swelling at the site of the injection. Facet joints are a pair of small joints located at the back of the spine, between each of the vertebrae. As explained by the North American Spine Society, if you experience any local or throbbing pain (such as in the legs), your doctor may suggest an injection into the facet joint as a way to diagnose pain or see if your pain improves.
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. When facet joint injections do not relieve pain, the next course of action will be to perform additional tests to see if the exact cause of the pain can be identified. An injection into the facet joint is exactly what it sounds like: the doctor injects a medication to see if it helps relieve pain. Facet joint injection is a minimally invasive treatment that relieves pain over a long period of time and helps the doctor identify the source of the pain.If the facet joint causing the pain was treated, you should expect to start feeling relief by the end of your first week after receiving your injection.
Injecting into these small joints located at the back of your spine reduces pain in those areas and can help identify if they are indeed causing your discomfort. If your injection does not provide relief, it could be because it did not reach its intended target or because your pain is not caused by facet joints.Although their main purpose is to support and help your spine move, if there is an injury or problem in one or more facet joints or in their surrounding structures such as muscles or ligaments, they can become a source of pain. Your provider may also inject a steroid medication into these joints which can help reduce pain and swelling in and around them.When one or more facet joints deteriorate for any reason, you may experience radiating pain in other areas of your body. You're more likely to notice faster relief if those joints where you received your injection were indeed causing your discomfort.If the medication is injected directly into a joint, this procedure is called a facet intra-articular injection or simply an injection into a facet joint.