Facet Joint Injection

Back or neck pain may be caused by a problem with your facet joints. If so, a facet joint injection may help. With this treatment, medicine is injected into certain facet joints. The injection can help your doctor find problem joints. It may also relieve your pain.

Vertabrae showing facet surface and facet joint.

What is a facet joint?

Bones called vertebrae make up your spine. Each vertebra has facets (flat surfaces) that touch where the vertebrae fit together. These form a structure called a facet joint on each side of the vertebrae.

What is a facet joint injection?

One or more facet joints in your back or neck can become inflamed (swollen and irritated). This may cause pain. During a facet joint injection, medicine is injected into the inflamed joints. This treatment may help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Pain relief may last for weeks to months or longer. If the pain returns, you may need a repeat injection.

Inflamed joint being injected and image showing joint with reduced inlammation after injection.

Getting ready

To get ready for your treatment, do the following:

  • At least a week before treatment, tell your healthcare provider what medicines you take. This includes aspirin. Ask whether you should stop taking any of them before treatment.

  • Tell your provider if you are pregnant or allergic to any medicines.

  • Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before the treatment.

  • If asked, bring X-rays, MRIs, or other tests with you on the day of your treatment.