After A Lumbar Facet Joint Block Has Been Carried Out

After A Lumbar Facet Joint Block Has Been Carried Out


A lumbar facet joint block is a procedure that is minimally invasive, with an injection containing a steroid and local anaesthetic being injected into the lumbar facet joints that are causing or suspected of causing the pain that is being felt in the back.


Patients often focus on the procedure itself, asking questions about whether they will feel pain, will they be able to drive afterwards, what could go wrong with the procedure etc. Although these questions and concerns are very natural, this is a very safe procedure and patients do not tend to feel pain, although some patients do say that it can be a little uncomfortable and some patients do experience slightly higher levels of pain for a day or two after the procedure, but not all experience this.


However, it is also important to think about after the procedure. This can help patients not only to obtain maximum comfort after it, but also to allay any ongoing fears about what could happen ‘afterwards’.


After a lumbar facet joint block has been carried out, patients should not drive for around 24 hours, but patients are usually able to return home after it, i.e. there is no need to stay in hospital.


Getting Comfortable


Some patients do find that there can be an increase in pain levels after the block has been carried out. Usually this is only because the effect of the local anaesthetic is wearing off and it is nothing to worry about. It does not mean that the procedure has not been a success, so should not be a cause for concern.


If pain levels are slightly higher, then the affected area can be comforted by using a cold compress or ice pack (even a bag of frozen peas) to the place where the injection was administered. You will also be able to keep taking painkillers for the first couple of days (unless advised otherwise), which should help to control the pain.


Getting Moving


After a day of resting without any strenuous activity, patients should start to move around again. Your physiotherapist will have shown you exercises to carry out, so that you can regain some more flexibility and also prevent further wear and tear on the lumbar facet joints.


It is important to keep mobile and not to simply rest after a couple of days. This helps the lumbar facet joints to start working again and will also help you to feel better. However, if you participate in very active sports, then you should only assume them again after you have received advise from your pain consultant or physiotherapist.


Primarily this is due to the need to keep active without placing too much stress on the lumbar facet joints, so it is important to keep a balance and not overdo things, which can be tempting if your pain levels have been such that life was quite restricted before the procedure was carried out.



Feeling Better


Most patients will start to feel much better after 2-6 days after the lumbar facet joint block. Very occasionally it may take up to 10 days, but the majority of patients feel far better after only a week or so and then normal life can start again! 






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