Injection of irritant fluid precisely into the facet joint causes referred pain patterns indistinguishable from the pain complaints frequently associated with the "disk syndrome." Even straight leg raising and diminished reflex signs can be obliterated by precise local anesthetic injection into the facet joint. The use of radiographically localized injection of steroids and local anesthetic into the facet joint has been presented as a diagnostic-therapeutic procedure. Clinical experience with a group of 100 consecutive patients suggests that this treatment alone can achieve long-term relief in one-fifth of the patients with lumbago and sciatica and partial relief in another one-third of these patients. This information suggests that the structures related to the facet joint can be a persistent contributor to the chronic pain complaints of individuals with low back and leg pain.
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