Facet Joint Injections

Facet joints can cause pain when they becomes irritated and are located on both sides of the back of the spine. These facet joints can impact the head and neck, shoulders and arms, upper back and chest, lower back, hips, and legs. Facet joint injection procedures can provide an opportunity for diagnosing the patient while also reducing inflammation and swelling in the treated area.

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Why It’s Done


If facet joints are the culprit behind your body’s pain or inflammation, facet joint injections can be an effective procedure to utilize. This procedure can also be effective for patients who experience temporary relief with other medications but have persistent chronic pain over time. Facet joint injection can also serve as a valuable tool to help diagnose spine related issues to determine the root cause and provide insight into the best course of action for treatment.

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What To Expect?

During Facet Joint Injections


  1. In preparation for the procedure, the physician numbs the skin and tissue above the facet joint with an injection of local anesthetic.
  2. With the aid of an X-ray device called a fluoroscope, the physician guides a needle through the numbed tissue and into the facet joint.
  3. Contrast dyes injected into the joint to confirm the needle’s placement.
  4. Once the needle is positioned properly, the physician injects a soothing mixture of numbing anesthetic and anti-inflammatory steroid medication.
  5. One or more facet joints may be treated.
  6. If this causes the pain to subside, it suggests that the facet joint or joints injected were the cause of the pain.
  7. Back or neck pain may disappear immediately after a successful injection because of the anesthetic that is administered.
  8. As this anesthetic wears off, pain may return.

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After Facet Joint Injections


  1. The steroid will begin to take effect in the days after the injection.
  2. The steroid will reduce inflammation and pain.
  3. The injection can provide relief for a span ranging from several days to several months.
  4. Up to three injections may be given per year

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Interventional Pain Management?

Interventional Pain Management is a subspecialty that helps diagnose and treat pain related disorders by using various interventions (or injections/procedures). Interventional pain management is a way to help treat chronic and acute pain, manage various pain conditions either before or after surgery, and thus to minimize the use of prescription medications.

This can be done independently as a stand-alone treatment but can often be done in addition to physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic (when appropriate) as well as counseling. 

Interventional techniques are minimally-invasive procedures that can include epidurals or other injections to put steroids or other medications in to a targeted area (usually part of your spine or various joints). Another approach is using needles to destroy the specific nerves that are the source of your pain. There are a few surgical techniques that can be completed as well which can include intrathecal infusion pumps for palliative pain conditions, spinal cord stimulators for intractable pain, dorsal root stimulators, basivertebral nerve ablations and decompression of the spine.  We also use Botox® for migraines and dystonia. 

What is the difference between pain management and interventional pain management?

Interventional pain management physicians use minimally invasive medical procedures to interrupt or slow the nervous system’s transmission of the pain signals from the nerve endings to the brain. In the case of chronic or severe pain, interventional pain management seeks to disrupt the pain cycle. 

Pain management can include various forms of therapies as well as medications. Medications can include non-controlled substances and in some cases do require the use of controlled substances for calming pain conditions. 

Where can patients have their Pain Management procedures done?

We have an in-office procedure suite with fluoroscopy (live x-ray) at our Reno location, or procedures can be done at an outpatient hospital or surgery center. Your insurance may impact where you can go for your procedure. Sierra Neurosurgery Group is happy to discuss your options when your appointment is being scheduled.

Can patients have sedation for Pain Management procedures?

Most procedures can be completed without the need for sedation. However for some patients sedation can help them relax and make the procedure more comfortable. If your procedure is completed in the office we can provide some oral sedation, however, if full sedation is requested then we perform your treatment at an outpatient hospital/surgery center.

How do I make an appointment with Sierra Neurosurgery Group?

Call us today at (775) 323-2080 or toll free (888) 323-2080.  We have 5 locations to serve you: Carson City, Elko, Fallon, Reno and Sparks.  If your health insurance plan requires a referral, contact your primary care or emergency room physician and request a referral to Sierra Neurosurgery Group.

Do you offer X-rays and MRI’s?
Sierra Neurosurgery offers comprehensive imaging services at our Reno office on Kietzke Lane, including X-Ray services and MRI scans with & without contrast.  This provides a quick, easy and no-hassle way to complete necessary imaging as part of your treatment plan.

What to Expect From Your Visit

Sierra Neurosurgery Group is focused on providing the highest quality surgeries with the best possible patient care. We focus on creating a unique experience for each of our patients to show them we understand their current situation and to do our best to help them get back to living the life they want. We provide the best care to our patients because we have assembled a team of professionals with extensive surgical experience consisting of neurosurgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and interventional pain specialists. Our personnel, focus on patients, and quality of care allows Sierra Neurosurgery Group to be highly effective in creating the best results and outcomes for our patients.