Patient Information

Advice following facet joint injections


Facet joints are small joints that link the bones of the spine together. Wear and tear, inflammation and injury to the facet joints may cause pain. Part of your treatment is an injection containing local anaesthetic often with a small amount of steroid.

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What should I expect after the injection?

  • Some people feel an improvement or even complete relief from their pain after the injection. For others, it can take up to 2 weeks to notice changes in pain.
  • Some people find there is no change or even a worsening of their pain.
  • You should take your normal pain medication for a few days following the injection. If you then feel you could reduce your pain medication, please speak to your GP about how to do this.

What activities can or should I do following the injection?

This is only a guide as it will depend on your individual response to the injections. There are no restrictions on your movement following the injections.

  • It is a good idea to have a restful day the day after your injection, even if your pain has improved, but try to keep moving and change position regularly.
  • Over the next week, gradually build up to normal activities, such as jobs around the house or walking. You can also restart gentle exercise.
  • If you work, you may feel ready to return the day after the injection. However, you might need to take a few extra days before returning to work if your back is very sore. If your job is physical you may need to do light duties for a week. 

What should I do in the weeks after the injection?

Exercise is an important part of managing your pain and an increase in activity and exercise is a good way to build up your flexibility, strength and fitness. This may be easier to carry out than it was before your injection, but even if you are still experiencing some pain, exercise can still be beneficial.

What exercises should I do?

  • You can continue, or gradually get back to activities that you regularly participated in including exercise classes, activities and/or sports.
  • If this is the first time you have had facet joint injections, you will be booked into our Post Injection class which is run by a Pain Clinic Specialist Physiotherapist. This is an opportunity to ask questions, learn about how to manage long-term pain, and receive guidance about exercise.
  • The Post Injection class runs weekly for 1 hour each session and you will be booked in for 4 weeks. Further details will be provided when you have been booked onto the class.
  • We have provided you with a sheet showing some gentle exercises you can do at home. You may already be familiar with these, however, if you do not feel confident or are unsure of them we can guide you further in the class.  

If you have questions regarding the classes or about exercise, please email or phone the Pain Clinic. Their contact details are in the Contacts section of this leaflet.

  • You can also find online exercise classes including Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates on the NHS Fitness Studio website.

Fitness Studio exercise videos – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or search for ‘NHS Fitness Studio’ in your browser.

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Pain Team 020 8934 3180 or 020 8934 2453

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Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
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