Lumbar Facet Joint Injection


Facet joints help the spine move properly and are responsible for providing support and stabilization. These small joints are located along both sides of the spine and cause pain when they are injured. Conditions such as arthritis can also affect the spine causing pain. Inflammation in the lumbar can produce pain in the lower back, hips, legs and, buttocks. Lumbar facet joint injections are commonly used to minimize inflammation with physicians inserting medication near the joint for relief from pain. These injections are also used to diagnose the cause of pain.


This short, 10-15 minute procedure begins with the patient lying on his or her stomach. Once the lower back is sterilized to reduce the risk of infection, the patient will be given an anesthetic to numb the area. A fluoroscope is used by the physician to focus on the affected area. This live X-ray device allows us to see images of the spine in real-time. Next, a dye that lights up on the fluoroscope will be injected into the lower back to pinpoint the location the facet joint injection needs to go. At this time, a mix of anesthetic and steroid medication will be injected into the joint.

After Care

Though the procedure itself is quick, we recommend patients rest and recover at home and not return to work the day of the injection. They may resume normal activity the following day. The low back may be sore after the procedure as the anesthetic wears off, but it shouldn’t last more than a couple of days. Pain relief is typically felt within three days or sooner after the injection. The length of its effectiveness varies from a few weeks to a few months. The procedure can be repeated as necessary.

Patients experiencing increased pain, excessive redness, swelling or infection should call The Spine & Pain Center immediately. Follow up appointments are also necessary to allow our physicians to gauge the effectiveness of the injections or if the procedure is for diagnostic purposes. If the injection has little effect on reducing the pain, another part of the body may be causing the symptoms.