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Facet Injections

Did You Know the Joints in Your Spine Can Cause Pain?

When the spinal joints become damaged due to trauma or wear and tear, they can become painful. This pain can shoot to other areas. Facet injection procedures can help diagnose and treat this problem.

There are three types of facet procedures:

  • Medial Branch Block – Numbs the small nerve that takes pain from the joint.
  • Intra-articular Facet Injection – Medicine is placed into the joint to help pain and swelling
  • Pulsed Radio Frequency – Provides longer term relief and positive results.
facet joint injection

What is a minimally invasive procedure?

A minimally invasive procedure is performed by a medical team. Rather than surgery, the procedure is done through a small needle, usually guided by a real-time x-ray or CAT scan. The procedure takes 10-30 minutes to perform with almost no recovery.

Will I be awake during the procedure?

For most procedures, you will be given a sedative or medicine to make you sleepy. You will spend about a half an hour in recovery. Many patients do not remember the injection. Eliminating joint pain can help you recover.

Will I be able to continue other types of care?

Yes, the procedure will help the other treatments be more effective.

How does this injection work?

Swelling can develop in the joint, injecting medicine into the joint can reduce that swelling. If the joint is damaged and painful, cutting off the pain signals from the joint can allow your spine to move normally again. If you have joint pain in your spine, these procedures can be 80- 90% effective.

Does insurance cover this procedure?

Yes, most insurance plans have coverage for facet injections. If you have an HMO plan, you may need to get additional authorization from your family doctor. The specialist who performs the procedure will work with your family doctor to get insurance authorization.

How should I prepare?

  • Do not eat or drink (other than sips for pills) for 6 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Make sure you have a driver.
  • If possible, do not take your pain medications on the morning of the procedure.
  • If you are on anti-inflammatory medication, it should be stopped 72 hours before the procedure.
  • If you take blood thinners or are diabetic, tell the specialist. You will need to get special instructions.
  • If you are pregnant, you shouldn’t have this procedure.
  • For more information, see and click on “For Patients”.