Facet joint injection
Facet joint injections are targeted back pain treatments. The London Clinic’s world-leading orthopaedic surgeons precisely inject local anaesthetic, often with steroid medication, into the facet joints between the bones of the spine. Facet joint injections can ease back pain, decrease inflammation, and restore movement and function.
Back pain can be uncomfortable and debilitating, restricting your ability to work, move, and live an active life.
The London Clinic has an experienced multi-disciplinary team of neurologists, spinal consultants, pain control specialists, radiologists, and physiotherapists. If back pain is affecting your quality of life, The London Clinic provides specialist treatment in a comfortable and stress-free environment.
What are facet joints?
The spine is a column of interlinked bones. The facet joints are located on either side of the back; they function to link the vertebrae. The facet joints allow movement and keep the spine stable.
Injury and arthritis can make the facet joints painful and can also make the muscles around the area tight and tender. You may feel pain in and around the joints affected. However, pain from facet joints in the lower back can also spread down into the buttocks and thighs. Pain from neck facet joints often spreads into the head, the shoulders, and upper back.
The London Clinic's expert orthopaedic surgeons can investigate and diagnose the underlying cause of your back pain so that they can provide the best treatment for your needs.
What are facet joint injections?
Facet joint injections are treatments for back pain caused by problems with the facet joint or the nerves supplying the joint. Under X-Ray guidance, the specialist injects local anaesthetic, with or without steroid medication, into the small joints between the spinal bones. The local anaesthetic acts to reduce pain, and the steroid treats inflammation, making the injection effective for longer.
Facet joint injections can treat back pain caused by osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, and injuries.
Who can benefit from facet joint injections?
The specialists at The London Clinic use facet joint injections as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, to treat some common causes of back problems, including injuries, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory arthritis. The injections can also investigate whether your facet joints cause your back pain.
Many back problems resolve with rest, specialist physiotherapy, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory medication. However, if these conservative treatments haven’t provided relief, facet joint injections can help ease pain, reduce inflammation, and restore mobility.
The orthopaedic and pain-control consultants at The London Clinic can also use X-rays and MRI scans to investigate the underlying structural problems triggering your pain.
The London Clinic offers a range of highly-specialised injection treatments to address different types of back pain:
Epidural injections can treat chronic back pain that spreads from the spine into an arm or leg. The consultant injects into the epidural space, which is the outermost part of the spinal canal. Epidurals can reduce back pain, control swelling, and ease nerve irritation.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections are placed into the joint between the lower back and the pelvis. They help treat pain from the SI joint, which tends to be one-sided and affects the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
Back pain consultation at The London Clinic
Our experienced orthopaedic surgeons will assess and advise you in The London Clinic's comfortable, well-equipped consulting rooms. They will take a detailed medical history, examine your back, and ask about the impact your symptoms have on your wellbeing and lifestyle.
Your consultant may then arrange tests to diagnose your back or neck problem, before tailoring a treatment plan for your needs. The London Clinic has a state-of-the-art imaging suite offering a range of diagnostic tests.
These may include:
- MRI scanning
- CT scanning
Facet joint injection at The London Clinic
Your spinal specialist will perform the facet joint injections as an outpatient procedure, so you will not need to stay in hospital overnight. At
The London Clinic, injections are usually under local anaesthetic. However, we also offer sedation to reduce discomfort and anxiety. The expert anaesthetist gives this intravenously and monitors you throughout the procedure. You will feel relaxed but still conscious.
You will lie on your tummy, or your side with your knees pulled up to your chest. The consultant will clean your back and numb the skin with a local anaesthetic. The consultant will then insert a fine hollow needle into your back. The location will depend on the facet joint affected.
The specialist may use X-ray guidance to ensure your safety and increase the effectiveness of the treatment. They will inject a small dye through the cannula, which shows up on X-Ray, confirming the precise placement of the injection.
When the tube is in the correct position, the consultant will inject the medication. Usually, this is a steroid to reduce inflammation and a local anaesthetic to numb the area and decrease pain. The procedure takes around 30 minutes.
Finally, the consultant will apply a plaster to cover and protect the injection site. The London Clinic team will support and monitor you as you recover.
Recovery and aftercare
Following the procedure, the clinic team will monitor your recovery. You will be able to go home when you are up and about and have passed urine. However, a friend or family member should escort you home.
You should stay off work and take it easy for 24 hours. The anaesthetic will numb your back for the first day. After this, the pain may increase before the steroids start to take effect. The team will give you painkillers to keep you comfortable during this time.
A facet joint injection can reduce pain for up to three months. However, they're usually a crucial part of a holistic back pain programme. The injection reduces symptoms so that physiotherapy is more effective.
The London Clinic’s specialist physiotherapists will give you exercises to improve your strength, spinal mobility, and stability. It is usually safe to start exercises a week after your injection. The London Clinic team is always available for support and guidance if you have any problems or concerns.
Mr Ben Okafor
Consultant Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon
Qualifications: MBBS (London), FRCS (England), FRCS.orth (UK), CCST (1998)
6 treatments available
Mr Irfan Malik
Consultant Neurosurgeon and Complex Spinal Surgeon
M.B.B.S, FRCS, FCPS, FRCS(SN), MSc
11 treatments available
Why choose The London Clinic
Excellence in one place
We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.
Personal care, every time
Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.
We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
What's included in your package?
Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
Your treatment package will include:
- Enhanced pre-admission assessment
- Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
- Personalised aftercare and follow-up
We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.
How to pay
- You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
- You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
- If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis