This procedure is used to both diagnose and treat back pain originating in the facet joints located on both sides of the rear of the spine. It is performed with local anesthesia.
Guided by fluoroscopic x-ray, a needle is placed into the facet joint, and placement is confirmed by injecting contrast dye into the joint. A combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medication is delivered to the joint through the needle. Depending on the location of the pain, one or more injections is administered. It the pain subsides after the injection, this suggests that the facet joint(s) injected were the causes of pain.
Back or neck pain may disappear completely after a successful procedure. However, once the numbing effect of the anesthetic wears off, pay may return. It usually takes 5 to 10 days for the steroid medication to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
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