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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 healthcare provider find problem joints. It may also ease your pain.

What is a facet joint?

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

Side view of three vertebrae showing inflamed facet joint.

What is a facet joint injection?

One or more facet joints in your back or neck can become swollen and irritated (inflamed). 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, months, or longer. If the pain returns, you may need another injection.

Getting ready

To get ready for your treatment, do the following:

  • At least 1 week before treatment, tell your healthcare provider what medicines you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It includes aspirin as well as vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Ask if you should stop taking any of them before treatment.

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

  • Tell your provider if you're pregnant or could be pregnant.

  • Follow any directions you're 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.

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