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Cervical Facet Block

Diagnostic Cervical Facet Block

Reasons to perform the procedure:

Neck or head pain resulting from suspected arthritis of the small joints (facet joints) of your spinal column.

Before the procedure:

You will be informed where and when to report for the procedure.  You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the night before.  You will be examined by your doctor and asked to rate your pain.

Description of the procedure:

Your consent will be obtained.  You will lie on your stomach for the procedure. The skin on your neck will be cleaned with antiseptic and numbed with medication.  Under x-ray guidance, needles will be inserted through the skin on your neck and local anesthetic (numbing medication) will be injected to numb the nerve to the facet joint.  This is usually performed at three levels on one or both sides of your neck.

After the procedure:

You will be asked to rate your pain.  Pain relief could last several hours, and then your pain will likely return to its previous level.  You will go to the recovery room to be monitored and discharged home.

Potential Complications: (rare)

  • Bleeding
  • Temporary numbness or weakness
  • Infection
  • Post spinal headache
  • Adverse drug reaction


You will be given a pain diary to help you keep track of your pain.  You will receive further instructions from the discharging nurse.