Facet Joint Injection (FJI)


Facet joints are located along the spine on each side where the adjacent vertebrae meet. These joints provide stability and are in constant motion particularly for active individuals. The facet joints wear over time and can become inflamed, resulting in mild to extreme discomfort.


The Facet Joint Injection (FJI) is a procedure that blocks or reduces pain caused by problems in the spine.

Before the procedure

Fasting is not necessary prior to the injection. If you are diabetic, please discuss your eating schedule and medications with your doctor. You may need to stop taking certain medications (i.e. Warfarin, Aspirin, etc.) before the procedure. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you need to discontinue any medications.

During the procedure

The Facet Joint Injection is performed in our CT room by a specialist radiologist. An antiseptic will be used to clean your skin after which your radiologist will inject the local anaesthetic. Once the anaesthetic takes effect, another needle will be inserted under imaging guidance to ensure accuracy.

A small mixture of long-acting local anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory medicine (cortisone/steroid) will then be injected. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes although we may ask you to remain at the clinic until the radiologist advises it is okay for you to leave.

No sedation is necessary so you should be able to operate a vehicle although we suggest arranging transportation. Your radiologist will explain the procedure in more detail during your visit.

After the procedure

We recommend that you refrain from performing any strenuous activities for at least 48 hours. Most patients are able to resume normal activities and return to work the next day. Whether you choose to do so depends on how you feel.

Physical therapy is an important part of an interventional pain treatment. Following the recommended physical therapy program is important. We have established relationships with preferred providers we can refer you to for the best treatment programs available.

While you may experience immediate relief after the injection due to the numbing medicine, there is still a possibility that the pain may return within a few hours. Please let us know immediately if you continue to experience any discomfort. The medication typically takes from 2 to 3 weeks to take effect.

Procedure risks

Facet Joint Injection is generally a safe procedure although risks include infection and bleeding. More rare adverse effects may include damage to the adjacent nerves and spinal structures. Such occurrences are infrequent with these injections.