Facet Joints Blocks

With so many treatments available to alleviate pain, it can be challenging to know which one is the best option for you.

Our experts at Cayman Neurology know how challenging it can be to choose. We have helped many at our office located in the Cayman Islands to find relief.

One way is by means of a therapeutic procedure called a facet joint block. Talk to one of our experts today to see if this could be the right option for you!

What Is a Facet Joint Block?

A facet joint block is a type of injection used to treat pain in your facet joints. Facet joints are small joints located between the bones of the spine. This procedure can be used to treat these joints that have become irritated or inflamed from arthritis, injury, or another degenerative disease.

During a joint block, anti-inflammatory medication is injected into both sides of the vertebrae on the spine to calm your inflamed cervical (neck pain), thoracic (mid back), or lumbar (low back) nerves and reduce pain. Joint injections are usually given using a local anesthetic and steroid medication.

A joint block may be used to confirm a diagnosis of facet joint pain. They may also be used as a treatment to provide temporary relief.

How Can I Prepare for a Facet Joint Injection?

You can prepare for your facet joint injection by following the specific instructions your specialist provides. Some common instructions for a facet block can be found below:

  • The night before your injection, make sure you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight
  • It is important to note that most medications can be taken with a small sip of water prior to the procedure, except for insulin.
  • Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions regarding blood thinners.

By following the instructions closely, you can keep yourself safe, as well as increase the success of your procedure.

How Is a Facet Block Performed?

A facet block is performed in an x-ray room. You will be placed on your stomach and may be given an IV (the IV may be used to provide fluids or medication during the procedure).

What to expect during a facet joint block procedure:

  • First, the injection site will be thoroughly cleaned by the medical team to reduce your risks of infection.
  • Then, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area.
  • Your doctor will use an x-ray to guide the needle into the correct position. Once the needle placement is verified, the anti-inflammatory medication will be injected into your facet joints.
  • Once completed, the needles are removed, and the area is cleaned again.
  • Your specialist will apply bandages to the injection site.

Once finished, you will be transitioned into the recovery area, where your vital signs will be monitored. Since everyone is different, the amount of time spent in recovery will vary depending on your individual circumstance.

After Your Facet Joint Block Procedure

After a facet joint block procedure, many feel immediate relief for a few hours because of the local anesthetic. However, the full effects of the medication may take between two days and two weeks to work. Keep in mind that the amount of pain relief varies from person to person.

It is vital to keep track of how you feel after the procedure, how those feelings progress, and how long they last as time goes on. Many have found keeping a pain journal to be very helpful. Your doctor will provide specific information on your follow-up protocol and instructions for you to follow after your procedure is complete.

The Results of a Facet Joint Injection

The relief you feel from this procedure can last anywhere from several weeks to a few months. If you notice that this procedure is bringing you lasting pain relief, then these injections may be repeated.

However, if you notice that you are experiencing only temporary pain relief, medial branch blocks may be needed. For this procedure, the medication is placed outside the joint space, near the medial branch nerve.

It is essential to keep in mind that depending on the type and location of your pain, multiple injections may be necessary. The number of injections you can have may be limited to prevent and minimize steroid-related side effects.

The Risks of Facet Joint Blocks

Facet joint blocks are generally considered safe, but there are some risks associated with the procedure. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Allergic reaction

The Benefits of Facet Injections

Facet injections have many benefits. These benefits include:

  1. Reducing inflammation and pain
  2. Providing diagnostic evidence regarding the location, cause, and source of your pain
  3. Making physical therapy more tolerable


While a facet block may quickly reduce your pain, it’s important to remember that this form of relief is not permanent, and a repeat block may be recommended.

If you would like more information regarding facet joint injections, schedule an appointment at our Cayman Neurology office today, conveniently located in the Cayman Islands. We look forward to helping you find the best way to relieve your pain!

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