Facet Joint/Medial Branch Block

Facet joint injections are designed to reduce pain coming from joints in your spine. The medial branches are tiny nerve branches that innervate these joints. These injections may serve a diagnostic as well as a therapeutic purpose.


Please inform us if you are taking any type of blood thinner, anti-inflammatory medication or have any bleeding tendencies. After the procedure, you may experience pain relief for a short time. Your pain may come back as the numbing medication wears off.


If steroids are administered it may take three to four days for the steroids to begin working and up to two weeks for the full therapeutic effect. The duration of pain relief from the steroid is variable with each person and is not predictable. 


Do not take pain medication or use pain patches at least four hours prior to the injection, so that a true determination can be made about the effectiveness of the injection.


After the injection, you will be asked questions as to your perception of the pain relief and possibly be asked to perform those activities that normally aggravate your pain so that the pain relief can be assessed. You must bring a driver with you to your procedure.


Description of the Procedure


The skin overlying the area is prepared with a cleansing solution. The skin is numbed with a local anesthetic.  X-ray guidance is used to guide the needle in place. Once the joints are identified with x-ray, a needle is directed to the facet joint. A numbing medication and possibly a steroid are injected into or near the joint(s).




The procedure may help determine whether your pain is coming from the facet joint(s). There may be a reduction in your pain.


If a steroid is injected, this may provide you with long term relief and allow you to return to your daily activities.


Potential Risks


  • Infection
  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • allergic reaction
  • increased pain
  • paralysis
  • stroke or death
  • increase in blood sugar
  • internal vessel/organ puncture


Notify our office for:


  • Fever
  • chills
  • temperature over 100 degrees
  • vomiting
  • persistent stiff neck
  • severe headache
  • progressive weakness
  • numbness
  • hives or trouble breathing
  • rash
  • itchiness
  • red or flushed face
  • loss of bowel or bladder control
  • any redness, swelling or drainage at the site of the injection


Our office phone number is (317) 471-1400 or 1-855-664-3636.