Facet Joint Injection: Before Your Procedure
What is a facet joint injection?
A facet joint injection is an injection of medicine to help with pain from arthritis. The injection goes into your neck or back. Where you get your injection depends on where your pain is.
Facet joints connect your vertebrae to each other along the back of your spine. Problems in these joints can cause long-term (chronic) pain in the neck or back.
Numbing medicine, sometimes called freezing, may be used to numb the skin and tissue around the procedure site. If this helps your pain, your doctor may add a steroid medicine to the injection. Steroids reduce swelling and pain, but they don't always work.
How do you prepare for the procedure?
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
Preparing for the procedure
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. If anesthesia and pain medicine is used it will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, or nail polish.
Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery centre
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
- You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.
Adaptation Date: 4/5/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services