How Long Do Facet Joint Injections Last?

How Long Do Facet Joint Injections Last?

A facet joint injection is a commonly recommended method of relieving specific types of pain. It is impossible to predict how long the results will last since every patient is different. You can, however, expect it to last for at least some time, typically several months.

Understanding Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injections contain anti-inflammatory steroids and, frequently, a local anesthetic, as well. The local anesthetic provides immediate relief, while the steroid provides long-term relief.

The facet joints or zygapophysial joints are in your spine’s bony framework. These are small bony projections. They jut out from the vertebrae and meet with the facet joints from the vertebra either below or above them.

Facet joints can develop inflammation due to chronic or acute conditions. Facet joint injections tend to be a recommended treatment for pain caused by this inflammation. The injection works by reducing the inflammation. That not only reduces pain, but it also helps improve mobility.

When They Are Used

Facet joint injections in the lower back or lumbar region are typically helpful when the pain involves aches in your lower back that radiate down your lower back and into the back of the upper thighs and buttocks somewhat. For lumbar facet joint pain, bending backward or standing makes the pain worse.

In the case of facet joint pain in the neck or cervical region, the pain is in your neck. It radiates slightly across the shoulders and neck. It tends to get worse if you look up or turn your head side to side.

The Injection’s Timeline

Getting the injection only takes a matter of minutes. However, most doctors schedule about an hour for it. This allows you to talk to your doctor before, get positioned for the injection, and have an observation period after.

The steroid in a facet joint injection does not start working immediately. It typically takes between two and seven days for patients to start to experience a reduction in pain. Immediately after the injection, however, there will be some relief thanks to the local anesthetic used.

It is important to note that you may not experience full pain relief from a facet joint injection. Some people get full relief, while others experience no relief, and yet others are in the middle. You may experience enough relief to improve your mobility, something which should help you recover.

Considering that doctors may recommend facet joint injections as frequent as three times a year, you can expect a positive outcome to last about four months. However, remember that it varies by patient. It would be best if you also kept in mind that some people may not experience relief from a single injection and may need additional ones.

Future Injections

If the first facet joint injection wears off after a reasonable amount of time, you may have a second facet joint injection. Your doctor’s recommendations will depend on how you responded to the first injection. When the injection is successful, your doctor may suggest it as many as three times per year but not more.

Find An Experienced Doctor Near You 

At New York Spine Specialist, we specialize in treating back and neck pain after an injury or an accident. If you suffer from pain or discomfort, call us to make an appointment at 516-355-0111. Our pain management doctors and surgeons accept no-fault, workers’ compensation, and other insurance plans. We are here to help you find the right treatment and get you back to recovery.