Facet joint injection

This is the name given to an injection into the small linking joints of the spine, the facet joints. This type of treatment is widely used for the treatment of chronic back pain due to facet joint disease. A facet joint injection is not a cure for the cause of your pain, but it is used to help reduce the level of your pain

What happens?

A facet joint injection is performed as a day case procedure and it is performed with X-Ray control to help identify the small joints accurately.

Usually you will lie on your tummy, but you may be asked to lie on your side with your knees drawn up and chin tucked in. This position helps to open up the space between the bones in your back.

Your back will be cleaned with antiseptic and a local anaesthetic injected into the skin to numb the area, there may be some discomfort at the time of the injection. After the procedure you will have a small dressing on your back to cover the procedure site.

Side effects

You may feel as though your back is a little bruised after the injection and you may also experience an increase in the level of your pain for a few days, this is normal. It will quickly resolve and you can continue to take your normal analgesia for pain. Occasionally there may be side-effects from the use of steroids.

Ask your consultant to explain in more detail how any risks or side effects might apply to you.