Tests and treatments

Facet injection in the back or neck

What is it?

What is it?

Due to wear and tear (arthrosis), inflammation, an operation, or an accident, there can be changes to the facet joints (mobile connections between the vertebrae). When this happens, the joints can become irritated and then cause (sudden) pain in the neck, chest or lumbar area.

Pain originating from the facet joints in the neck can lead to neck pain, which sometimes radiates to the shoulder and between the shoulder blades. There are often movement limitations in the neck.

When there is irritation in the facet joints of the lower back, there is usually pain that wraps around the low back, and which sometimes radiates to the upper legs.
This pain can also manifest on just one side.

With therapeutic facet injections, the painful joints are injected with a local anaesthetic and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids reduce the inflammatory reaction in order to take away the pain.

Treatment procedure

Treatment procedure


Come to the hospital on the day of treatment. You do not need to be fasting. It is best if someone brings you to the hospital and drives you home afterwards. You will receive local anaesthestic. By law, you may not drive vehicles or operate machinery for 12 hours afterwards. If you wish, the nurses of the Pain Centre can order a taxi for you.

Always inform the physician if:

  • you have diabetes or a heart condition
  • you are (or could be) pregnant
  • you are allergic to certain medications, contrast agents or iodine (disinfectant), latex, etcetera
  • you take blood thinners

If you have reduced kidney function, have recently experienced thrombosis or a heart attack or have had a stent implanted, you must contact your attending physician first.

An overview of the medications that you should stop (and when) is provided in the leaflet that is at the bottom of this page.

Latest publication date: 15/03/2022