A facet injection is a minimally invasive procedure that can temporarily relieve neck or back pain caused by inflamed facet joints. The cause of facet joint pain (arthritis, injury, degeneration) is not well understood and can be similar in nature to disc pain. The procedure has two purposes: First, it can be used as a diagnostic test to see if the pain is actually coming from the facet joints. Second, it can be used as a treatment to relieve inflammation and pain caused by various spine conditions. The effects of facet injections tend to be temporary, providing relief for several days up to years. The goal is to reduce pain so that the patient may resume normal activity and a physical therapy/exercise program.
A facet injection includes both a long-lasting corticosteroid and a local anesthetic. The drugs are delivered to the painful facet joint, either inside the joint capsule (intraarticular) or in the tissue surrounding the joint capsule (periarticular).